Without overblown hype, Lushen Kebatlege popularly known as DJ Ngwazi has determinedly worked himself into the position of not just being a DJ for South Africa’s most popular music artist Master KG, but he is one of the biggest players in the country. He spoke to Staff Writer MOMPATI TLHANKANE
Arts & Culture invited the talented DJ to Mmegi offices this week to talk music, success, overcoming adversity, and working with superstars such as Master KG and Makhazi.
For a man who used to Dj for a small number of people at Kings Bar in Thamaga, now his deck can overlook the sea before huge crowds. There are limitless possibilities, and for the man who is a DJ and producer, he has a good chance of having his dreams being realised.
Most people don’t know about him but he is the man behind the decks during Master KG’s performances and he has not yet become one of Botswana’s most globally celebrated DJs. He is now playing to capacity crowds at enormous venues. He is deejaying everywhere from Southern to West Africa. The man from Thamaga is on an ever-upward flight.
Looking back, DJ Ngwazi shares the story that changed his life forever. “I was a bar DJ for quite sometime, but in 2015 T.H.A.B.O recruited me to become a resident for their breakfast show on RB2 until I left last year in April,” he recalls.
He says as part of the organisers of Gaabo Motho Music Festival in Moshupa his opportunity arose when the owner of the event Oscar Thebe asked him to pick up Master KG in Gaborone.
“I exchanged contacts with Master KG and I honestly told him how powerful his music has become. He arrived during the time when Nigerian music was dominating but I started playing his music too much on radio,” he explains.
DJ Ngwazi says when Master KG returned to Botswana for a show the latter asked him to deejay for him because his DJ was having trouble getting into the country.
“We didn’t talk much after that so the following weekend was GIMC and I was far in the cattlepost so he asked me to meet him in Gaborone and help Dj for him at GIMC. I had never performed there before it was my chance to be on that stage,” he recalls.
After the show, DJ Ngwazi says Master KG told him that he wants to move with him to Johannesburg and be his DJ fulltime. “I didn’t believe it because I thought he was just saying it because I had helped him. But he never went back on his promise and in December 2018 I got the chance to DJ live at SABC 1 and across various radio stations,” he adds.
DJ Ngwazi says Master KG finally called to work with him fulltime in April 2019 and that was when he moved to South Africa. DJ Ngwazi further tells Arts & Culture that doors immediately opened for him and they managed to perform in seven countries across Africa in winter of 2019 only.
“I have performed alongside Master KG in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon and Rwanda,” he proudly expresses. He reveals that soon he will be in Angola and Sierra Leone.
He says the biggest festival he had performed at in terms of crowd attendance was Venda’s Phalaphala FM Royal Heritage Festival. DJ Ngwazi admits he often has stage fright when he faces large crowds at these big festivals. He says Mapungubwe Arts Festival is also one of the biggest he had performed at.
DJ Ngwazi says it was surprising to experience some things in life for the first time.
“I remember when I wanted to go buy a car, I expected some small car to move around but Master KG insisted that I buy a Mercedes Benz looking at the amount of money he was paying me,” he says.
He says things happened so quick for him and it was not even a year. DJ Ngwazi says he didn’t just stop at deejaying but he was taught production as well. “I used to watch these events on TV but now I perform there and I work with big SA artists,” he says.
DJ Ngwazi says he also appears on videos such as Master KG’s jerusalema as one of the main acts. “Not everyone is going to give you a chance especially a guy from Thamaga like myself. It is just a grace of God,” he says. Going forward the talented DJ says he is going to drop a single featuring one of the big and well-known stars in SA.
DJ Ngwazi says he has started working on his album to be released next year.
DJ Ngwazi says he won’t focus on Limpopo music that much but it will be house music with the taste of Master KG’s sound. “Master KG took the sound of Bojo Mujo and made it more fashionable so I am going to be myself,” he reveals.
DJ Ngwazi advises other upcoming DJs to be enduring and use every chance they get.
While huge hardships have dissuaded others from pursuing a career in music, he stood tall and now his rise has been the result of many years of hard work, dedication and self-belief.