ALTHOUGH female disc jockeys (DJs) do not always get their due in a patriarchal industry, South Africa has no shortage of women who can hold their own behind the turntables. The latest sensation to set the dance floors alight is the multi-talented Zamabuya Ngwenya (25), also known as DJ Miss Zamabuya.
Hers is a case of the apple not falling far from the tree, as she told CAJ News in an interview in Johannesburg. “I come from a music home; my dad, who was commonly known as “Indoda
Engaziwa” was a prominent Mbhaqanga singer. I would say that is where I inherited love for music,” the Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal-born Ngwenya said. “Indoda Engaziwa” is Simon Ngwenya, formerly a leader of the 1980s/90s group, Abakhwenyana.
DJ Miss Zamabuya is eager to make a name for herself in the entertainment circles, having started DJ’ing in 2017 at a local popular restaurant.“My love for playing developed pretty organically,” Ngwenya said.“I would love to think it was strongly influenced by my love for music –especially house music. I decided to approach DJ’s to teach me, and eventually got myself a small controller to practice at home. I did this to concentrate more on my mixing skills and techniques,” she added.Her appearance extends to clubs and bars, private functions and events and corporate parties.
“I have played in almost every province in South Africa. My biggest highlights have been playing alongside some of the DJ’s I am motivated by, such as the likes of DJ Zinhle, Lulo Café just to name a few. Also, seeing the crowd positively responding to one’s music is an exciting feeling.”Ngwenya said while internationally-acclaimed Black Coffee inspired him because of his level of success, Da Capo was her favourite DJ. She has featured alongside her favourite as well as other established names as DJs Lulo Café, Tira and Zinhle. While she feels lucky to have received good reception from male DJs who
discovered her, Ngwenya said to an extent where some were willing to teach her more DJ’ing techniques, there was that bit of a stereotype especially from viewers and revelers.
“You always get special attention when you step up to the DJ booth as a
female DJ. You can just read it from their faces.”Such is her progress in the industry it is inconceivable Ngwenya is a full-time Public Relations and Communications officer and still furthering
her studies.“A lot of people do not know this, but I actually have a 9-5,” she said. Little wonder she hardly gets some sleep.“Balancing the three DJ’ing, work and studies) is not easy at all, as
sometimes I get about two hours of sleep if not one,” she said. Ngwenya believes she has balanced it off by planning ahead and ensuring she minimized gigs during exam time.
“I also try to minimize midweek gig, and use the time to attend to my office work,” she said.