‘WE CAN’ AWARD FOR DJ WHO CERTAINLY CAN
21 Jan 2021
By Samantha Malebana
A house, deep house and Afro music DJ has been awarded a We Can Arts Festival award for his contribution to the entertainment industry beyond his disability.
Siyanda Makanya (42), also known as DJ Kabila, from Mthatha, Eastern Cape won the award at the festival that was held in Durban on December 11, 2020.
Makanya told ThisAbility that winning this award fuelled him with energy to carry on inspiring others.
“To be recognised as someone who has [excelled] within the music space beyond your disability shows that when you are dedicated to whatever you pursue, one day someone will tap you on the shoulder and say ‘we see you’.”
Thabani Mazibuko (44), festival director at We Can Arts Festival, said he has known Makanya for a very long time performing at various clubs and events.
“The same way DJ Kabila, Sgwili, Steve Kekana and many more used their talents to express themselves,should inspire other persons with disabilities to explore their talents too,” said Mazibuko.
The festival was initiated in 2015 by Outrage Concept and is now held annually in different provinces. The festival recognises and awards artists with disabilities from performing artists, crafters to book writers whom the organisers believe have managed to make it big in the art industry against all odds.
Makanya was involved in a car accident at the age of 21 after which he was declared a paraplegic.
“I quickly adapted and accepted my disability when my mother had to go work in Pretoria and I had to stay to study electronic engineering at Port Elizabeth Technical College. That’s when I knew that regardless of the situation, whatever I wanted to achieve was dependent on me,” said Makanya.
Prior to the accident that made him a wheelchair user, Makanya was a dancer.
“My love for music still remains unmatched because two months after my accident I started exploring my talent with beats to become a full–time DJ that I am today,” he said.
The DJ released his first house music album titled Believe in 2007 influenced by Black coffee, the childhood friend he grew up with in Mthatha. His album received much love from the public.
In 2011 Makanya dropped a Soulistic Cuts Volume 1compilation album that featured Black Coffee, MXO, Sai& Ribatone and American vocalist Marissa Guzman on a track titled “Time To Go” which got nominated in the South African Music Awards under the Best Remixed Tracks category.
One of Makanya’s most loved hits, “Atsha Pha” from his third album titled Music Will Save The Day, got recognition worldwide and its remix was selected for DJ Black Coffee’s mix tape.
“Working with Black Coffee was a wonderful experience as he has vast knowledge,” Makanya said. “From him I learnt that perseverance is the key to get to the top.”