Rare chance music to ears for local female DJs

DJ Ayaz mentors aspiring talents in the 2019 I am a DJ Incubation Programme, from left, Lilanga Soginga, Limakatso Mani, Siphosethu Mtsulwana and Natasha May
HANDS ON: DJ Ayaz mentors aspiring talents in the 2019 I am a DJ Incubation Programme, from left, Lilanga Soginga, Limakatso Mani, Siphosethu Mtsulwana and Natasha May
Image: SUPPLIED

Aspiring and established female DJs have one day left to apply for a spot in the second annual I Am a DJ Incubation Programme.

Entries close on Saturday, with the programme set to kick off next week, with 10 selected applicants.

The selected 10 will begin with practical and technical training for one month, and then each will be connected with an experienced DJ, who will mentor them for two months.

Programme founder Lungelwa Mtabazi, better known as Lochive The DJ, said the applicants would be mentored by experienced DJs from East London, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

The first part of the programme would focus on training the aspiring DJs in the craft, and equipping them with knowledge about the industry, she said.

“During the first part, they’ll be learning the technical aspect of DJing and we have industry experts who will be speaking on topics that we have identified as necessary for the ladies to learn about.

“The next part, they will each be allocated a mentor who will guide them through their [learning] process and be there to answer any questions they may have,” she said.

The DJ established the programme in 2019 after identifying a need for more female DJs in the metro.

“There are just very few of us and there aren’t many platforms for women who are interested in the craft to learn.

“Being in the industry myself, I noticed that event organisers and promoters struggled to find female DJs to book, especially during the month of August when all-female lineups are quite popular,” she said.

Applicants need only pay a commitment fee of between R100 to R200 to join the programme.

The 2019 programme was about a month long, with eight trainees selected to take part.

“This year we’re able to take on more people and hold the programme over a longer period because we managed to secure sufficient funding from the National Arts Council.

“We’re hoping to make it even bigger next year if we receive more funding,” she said.

Some of 2019’s trainees include DJ Zazmoney, Lilanga and Lady Lu, who can now be spotted on lineups in the metro.

Mtabazi, who has been a DJ for about five years, said the male-dominated industry was not easy to infiltrate as a woman.

“When I decided I wanted to be a DJ there were no platforms in PE that offered training for female DJs, so I would literally go stand next to DJs and watch them play, until one experienced male DJ offered to teach me,” she said.

The programme’s one-month technical and knowledge-based training will run until the end of October and the two months of mentorship and coaching will start in November.

Mentors include Johannesburg DJ Infinix and Misser Housefanatic from East London.

To apply for the programme, interested parties are asked to e-mail a letter motivating why they should be chosen, to info@mtabaziandco.co.za before October 3. Follow I Am A DJ Incubation Programme on Facebook for more information.

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