Arts & Leisure

No end in sight to Rochester’s woes

Chris Theko

It never rains but pours for embattled Dj and music producer Rethabile Lekometsa, or Dj Rochester as he is popularly known in the music circles, who has been languishing in a South African prison since mid-winter.

Rochester was arrested in Klerksdorp, Rustenburg, South Africa on June 3, 2021 and was subsequently charged with assault, resisting arrest and reckless driving after he had been detained for over three months. 

He appeared in court on September 9, 2021 for a remand and it could be a long way until he can have a chance to plead his case or get bail.

In an interview with this publication, Rochester’s brother, Likopo Libe said the family still has no money for the requisite legal fees.

“We had embarked on a mission to raise funds for his legal fees but until today, the money collected is not enough, so far the money we have managed to put together for his legal fees is only M900.

“The lawyer we have offering his services requested that since he is an advocate, he would have to work together with an attorney- a feat which would upsurge the fees more,” Libe said.

He said that by their estimates, the initial figure for the bail hearing stood at around M5500, adding, however, that they already do not have the bail money whatever the figure it might be put at.       

At the time of his arrest, Rochester is said to have been a quest to meet up with someone to discuss some business. However, when he had reached Klerksdorp, the person was unreachable on the phone hence he resorted to asking for directions at a nearby dealership.

It is alleged that while he was talking to the security guards asking for help, they thought he was a thug disguising as a lost person and called the police who allegedly came and started beating him up without asking questions. 

His arrest came amidst allegations that he had of late been using drugs since early last year as an escape from his depression.

“Yes, Rochester was involved in drugs although the truth is he was using but not dealing in them,” said the source.

“Because of the crowd he was spending time with and associated with, he started having moments where he would be found using and some of those people are dealers, so he was even tempted to start selling also however, the business struggled to pick up hence he stopped” continued the source who preferred not to be named.

The source further stated that the Dj struggled with the impact of Covid-19. He started staying in Khubetsoana, LECOOP in 2019 soon after his hit “Skupu” made a lot of noise and attracted international acclaim.

“He had been suffering because of Covid-19 which saw entertainment industry being restricted, so he had no means of income and I think that is what got to him,” said the source. 

When the news of his arrest broke, a lot of djs and other entertainers who worked closely with the Dj were reluctant to help him with most alleging that Rochester was involved in drugs. 

Meanwhile, asked about Rochester’s alleged drug use, Libe also confirmed that he was indeed using crystal meth as a result of depression.

“He was not using or selling until early last year when he started being associated with people who sell. He got sucked into that crowd as a way to escape his financial challenges,” said Libe.

“My plea, however, is that even if a person was using drugs, when they are in a situation he is in that can happen to anyone, we should not drop him or judge him.

“All his troubles started after Covid-19 hit and it affected his finances so I learned he was depressed and that was the beginning,” he added.

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