Fearless DJ Phobia dreams big

2012-01-14 16:14

The first time I saw Bongani Mbambo – popularly known as DJ Phobia, or “Stevie Wonder” because of his blindness – was at a popular spot in Alex called Joe’s Butcher.

It’s a playground for well-known DJs in the industry – the likes of DJ Culoe de Song, DJ Mbuso and Black Coffee.

Mbambo was diagnosed with retinal cancer when he was three years old, which led to blindness in both eyes.

He was taught how to mix music by his mentor, DJ Christos, in 2005 and has been rocking the clubs ever since.

I was intrigued by his choice of career and after months of enquiring about him, I finally got a chance to meet him.

Mbambo tells me he made a conscious decision to overcome adversity and break the stereotype of blindness being associated with limited capability. He dreams of becoming one of the best known DJs in the world.

But he does experience challenges: driving, for instance. However, friends and family transport him to gigs and help with other logistical needs.

Mbambo is proud to have played in most popular spots, like ZAR Johannesburg, ICC Durban and Nelspruit and he’s overwhelmed by the positive response he gets from people – many don’t realise that he is blind.

It is common knowledge that the music industry is full of challenges such as drugs, back stabbing etc, but there are legendary musicians who have risen up to the challenge; the likes of Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Steve Kekana, irrespective of their visual difficulties. DJ Phobia is well on his way to follow in these legends footsteps.

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