When Siyanda Makanya aka Dj Kabila is behind the decks, few people realize that it always takes effort for him to play at most venues. Most gigs where he plays at are almost inaccessible for a wheelchair user.
This, however, has not deterred the focused entertainer to build a formidable brand for himself since he began pursuing his passion for music in 1999- coincidentally the same year he got injured in a car crash. Dj Kabila’s passion started at a very tender age growing up in Mthatha where a neighbor had a sound system and was the local deejay.
The apprenticeship started at the age when he used to assist the deejay setup and test sound quality.
Kabila’s musical journey has seen his brand being signed by Dj Black Coffee’s Soulistic Label and joining the world’s best at the renowned Miami Music Conference in the USA in 2012 where he played alongside Marques Wyatt and established South African names like Dj Fresh, Euphonik and Culoe de Song. Having released his third album late last year, there is a testimony of his deep house music style being well received and appreciated both locally and internationally.
“Being in a competitive space as a person with mobility challenges, I’ve set goals for myself and pushed my passion to a respectable level but aim to reach higher because I have to escalate way beyond societal’s view of my disability. I released my 3rd album independently under my own label Musiq Soldier-an uphill task considering the resources needed to make it to the top if you are not part of the established music labels, “quips Kabila.
His latest offering is “Music will save the Day”-a 12-track album featuring some prominent names like MXO of the ”Zandimbone” fame, Toshi-known for her vocal prowess on Dj Black Coffee’s runaway hit song-“Buya” and other talented artists established and upcoming. On Kabila’s new project, MXO features on the soulful song “Fever” and Toshi serenades on the Afrocentric “Atsha Pha”. Collaborating with different talent is part of Kabila’s belief that talent has to be exposed, shared and appreciated-resulting in a versatile product that Kabila personally conceptualized, produced, arranged and co-wrote.
“Music will save the Day”is currently enjoying massive airplay on Ukhozi FM, Umhlobo Wenene, YFM, and Gagasi FM.
Few are indeed in his fortunate position and it is this fact that he also is developing a number of programs to champion disability awareness, inclusion and empowerment. His organization, Beyond Disability was formed in 2010 to add a voice of disability in socio-economic initiatives to meet Government and business owners’ efforts in building better communities.
Kabila and his team are planning a countrywide tour to promote his album and have lined up a number of gigs, interviews and meet-ups in the following weeks.
“I am a torch-bearer as far as mainstream deep house music by a wheelchair user is concerned. I won’t rest until others are recognized through my efforts to campaign for disability recognition and consideration. I also aim to gain respect through my talent rather than my disability so as to compete in the cut throat industry that has so many DJs competing.”
Kabila’s album “Music will save theDay” is available on iTunes and at Musica store nationwide. Watch “Fictional Chemistry” video, a track from the album, coming soon on YouTube.