By Bruce Ndlovu
Legendary Radio 3 disk jockey Peter Johns will have a private funeral in the UK, as health concerns due to Covid-19 have meant that it is considered too risky to repatriate his body back to his native Zimbabwe.
Johns (60) passed away last week at a hospital in the UK. He had suffered three strokes while afflicted by a heart complication.
The radio personality, popularly known as PJ Your DJ or The Radio Driver to the legions of listeners that tuned into his shows like Hitsville and Monday Mellow Madness before the turn of the new millennium, reportedly had a heart attack in 2019 and never fully recovered.
In a statement, the Peter Johns family said concerns about Covid-19 had put paid to any plans to give Johns a send-off in his country of birth.
His burial would follow burial regulations set by British government.
“We would like to express our deepest gratitude for the heartfelt tributes and outpouring of sympathy in this difficult time,” the family said in the statement.
“We have tuned into every show, cried, laughed and felt proud of what he achieved, we understand that PJ meant a lot to many worldwide and we will do all we can to celebrate his legacy.
“It was our wish to return PJ home but sadly this will not be possible due to the risks associated with travelling while we are in the centre of a global epidemic. He will be laid to rest in the UK at a private funeral attended by under 10 close family members in accordance with Government guidelines.”
The Johns family urged fans to celebrate the disk jockey through digital platforms. On Saturday Star FM, Power FM and ZiFM combined forces for the “Tribute Multicast”, a first in Zimbabwe radio broadcast. More tribute broadcasts are set to follow.
The family noted they were still looking forward to tribute and submissions about the man who left an indelible mark on the Zimbabwean broadcast and club scenes, while a memorial website was also on the cards.
“We have confirmed a prestigious central London venue for a public memorial and exhibition on Sunday 18 April 2021. One of PJ’s last wishes was a space online, for fans to listen to his playlists and mixtapes, reliving the memories of Zimbabwe Radio, Scamps, Turtles, Monday Mellow Madness and more.
“We are inviting anyone who knew or worked with PJ to send their contributions or memories of him by signing up at www.djpeterjohns.com which will be included at the public memorial and on his memorial website, which will be launched on Sunday 18 April 2021.” Sunday News