Mariah Kasalaba, a young Zambian woman DJ based in Gaborone, is making waves in what is a traditionally a male-dominated sector. Indeed dynamite, as they say, comes in small packages and the tiny DJ is no exception.
Kasalaba is one of the few women nightclub DJs in the country. Popularly known as DJ Crush, Kasalaba presents Africa Nite at the Shebeen nightclub on Sundays. The event was launched two weeks ago. As a result, revellers will every Sunday find DJ Crush at the club doing her own thing. DJ Crush's programme features African music. "I play African music from the North to the South, East to the West including Zambian, Botswana, Nigerian and Kenyan music," she says, adding that she has been warmly received since she came to this country last year.
Working in this country has been a wonderful experience for her. She says what makes her job easier is that the people in Botswana love clubbing. They also go for a variety of music. "It has been nice because the people are enjoying the music that I am playing," she says.
DJ Crush has also realised that there is no gender discrimination in the industry. She says people appreciate her as a woman DJ.
"I have enjoyed my stay in Botswana. People are friendly. I have also learnt Setswana," she says.
DJ Crush started working at GrandWest nightclub in Gaborone West and later moved to Club Havanna, which has been renamed the Shebeen.
DJ Crush was born in the Zambian capital, Lusaka where she spent most of her childhood. When she was young she spent seven years in the United States where her father was working for the diplomatic service. But later the family moved back to Lusaka where DJ Crush continued with her education.
After she completed high school, he attended a computer course and later completed a diploma in law. Currently, she is studying for a degree in law through correspondence.
DJ Crush started as a
When she was working for the radio station, she used to play "oldies" and contemporary music. She also presented the rhumba session.
During the programme, listeners would call to request for a particular song and she would comply. It was radio, which exposed her to the world of entertainment.
DJ Crush still cherishes working for radio.She made a career move when she joined another Zambian radio station, Phoenix. But this was the radio station where she really had a good time.
"Working for Phoenix was the best time for me as a radio DJ," she says, adding that Phoenix is the biggest privately owned radio station.
Working for Phoenix was her greatest achievement because she was exposed to a much wider listenership. "I really grew as a radio presenter," she says.
After Phoenix, DJ Crush worked as a solo artist. She has already recorded one song. However, she does not talk about any ambitions to pursue her singing career.
Although she is working in a nightclub, DJ Crush does not indulge alcohol. Neither does she smoke. But DJ Crush does not mind her working environment because at the end of the day her job is to make people happy. DJ Crush is also regular churchgoer.
She is the fifth born in a family of seven. She is also a proud mother of one year-and-six-months-old son. Actually she describes herself as "a mother, DJ and student".
So do not be surprised when the ambitious young woman DJ becomes a lawyer some day because her philosophy is that "everything is possible as long as one is determined". For her, the sky is the limit.