Zinhle lights up Unplugged. . . as local female DJs get wake-up call

WINGATE Golf Club was lit up last Saturday as thousands of merrymakers thronged the venue for the year’s last edition of Unplugged.

For the first time since its conception, event organisers brought in a foreign act.

This, combined with the last edition factor, resulted in Unplugged registering a record-breaking crowd.

English DJ Tim Westwood, who had been scheduled to headline the event but ended up cancelling on the eleventh hour, was swiftly replaced by one of South Africa’s top spinners, DJ Zinhle.

The award-winning DJ was a worthy replacement as she easily thrilled the crowd with her scintillating skills behind the decks.

Riding on a party mode that had already been ignited by earlier performers who included Simba Tagz and Takura, the “My Name Is” hitmaker managed to keep the momentum afloat with a brilliant selection of house tunes.

Her superb act was clear testimony that female DJs are equally lethal on stage, even for big events. They deserve a chance, but sadly the local showbiz scene appears not so keen to give female spinners a chance, particularly on grand platforms.

While there are a few female DJs who have managed to make a name for themselves performing for live audiences at gig venues, the majority remain stuck on radio.

Revellers who had the opportunity to party at KFC Balcony before its closure will remember the exploits of Miss Smuffet.

She was one of the top entertainers in the capital, but since her time, there has been no solid replacement.

There is no doubt the talent is there. It just needs exposure and appreciation from the public.

The likes of Trill Angel, DJ Naida and DJ Lyaness are some of the names that are trying to break male dominance in the field.

Two of the top female DJs opened up to The Sunday Mail Society on their experiences and challenges in the industry.

DJ Lyaness, whose real name is Larissa Makahamadze, said women were not getting equal opportunities as they tend to be undervalued in the entertainment sector.

“While it differs with clubs and promoters, it is difficult for us to be respected and valued on the local entertainment industry as male artistes tend to be favoured and are paid their asking fees when ours are usually slashed,” she said.

DJ Lyaness further noted there are more competitive female acts in Bulawayo, compared to Harare.

“I have realised the club scene in Bulawayo has more ladies doing it big compared to this side (Harare), where there a very few visible names.

“Female DJs in Bulawayo seem to be getting more support from the industry’s stakeholders and I wish the same would also happen in all cities and towns across the country.”

Trill Angel, who has been doing wonders at Pablo’z during her Saturday night slots, added there is need for a paradigm shift within club owners and the public at large.

“As a female DJ, people will always be judging you, with most of them thinking we are just plug and play individuals rather than DJs who can actually mix music. That attitude needs to change. Also, I think females need to be more passionate about the craft and we should work together more often so that we also increase our visibility,” she said.

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