DJ Kabila on the pursuit of success, raising awareness of disability culture and amplifying accessibility in the music industry
19 October 2022
Dj Kabila spinning the decks alongside Dj Black Coffee
By Anita Nkonki
This year marks more than two decades since DJ Kabila – real name Siyanda Makanya – started his music journey and he continues to flourish on many stages beyond South African shores.
The Eastern Cape born talent is not only an activist with a disability, but also an international DJ who has been showing off his love for music on major stages across the world.
Makanya was involved in a car accident in 1999. He was 21 when it happened and he now uses a wheelchair.
In conversation with “The Star”, Makanya revealed how his accident shifted his perspective and motivated him to do better in life.
“Music has been a therapy for me. I would say the accident saved me and made me a better person. I was young when it happened. It saved my vision and really focused on what really matters to me, which is me. It brought that focus. I didn’t focus on the disability that much, but I focused on what I wanted to do and to be a better person,” said Makanya.
He added that he did not want people to see the disability, but rather to see someone who is talented, and music gave him that.
Makanya also spoke about the support he has been getting from his family and friends. He highlighted that his friend DJ Black Coffee has also played a pivotal role in his career.
“With friends, the support is an on-and-off situation, but a friend of mine, Black Coffee, has supported me. And he is the one who signed me and believed in my talent. Even with some opportunities as well, he sees the opportunities where I can fit in. He would invite me because he believes so much in my talent,” shared DJ Kabila.
Asked about the biggest highlight of his career, he said it was his experience of playing in Ibiza.
“One of the greatest highlights in my career is playing in Ibiza because it is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I left people emotional with how I play my music.”
Makanya further shared an experience of being discriminated against by an airline and raised matters which he hopes people can change.
“You find that in most spaces they tick all the boxes, but you’ll find someone using the parking. They have got toilet facilities, but someone does not see the urgency of someone with a disability having to use that toilet. So it’s things like that when you see them, they are small. People need to change their mindsets.”
The renowned DJ also has an album titled “A New Dawn” and is finalising a concept, “Disability Awareness with DJ Kabila”, which will air every Wednesday in November until December 3: International Disability Day.
THISABILITY Newspaper was started and registered as a non-profit media platform 6 years ago in 2011 by Anthony Cuerden and Simon Manda. Initially they had two other directors, Bonga Khoza and Musa Zulu.
One of the newspapers first funders was the Office of the Premier in KZN. It was with this and the Directors’ direct funding that the newspaper was able to print and deliver their first issues. Other advertisers like the Dept. of Sports and Recreation and smaller suppliers of services and equipment to the disability sector helped the paper run and create an online version. This meant that a certain sector could still read the paper if funds were not available for a printed paper. (more…)