DJ Rock marches to a different beat

2011-08-20 17:31

Sabelo Nkosi is a feisty and charismatic hip-hop presenter for K-Radio, a fast-growing community radio station in Kanyamazane Township outside Nelspruit.

But what many of his listeners don’t know is that 30-year-old Nkosi is a paraplegic.

He is unable to move or use a wheelchair after he was shot outside a tavern in 2002. But this does not prevent him from going places and dreaming big.

DJ Rock, as Nkosi is known, presents a Saturday midday show aptly called We Can Do It.

He co-hosts the boisterous show with Lady-V, and the playlist is strictly hip-hop.

Nkosi and his business partner – Sipho “Sean-Sharrel” Mongwe, who is a recording artist – run Mpumalanga’s Finest, a project that scouts for hip-hop talent.

They both own entertainment companies.

Nkosi does all of this lying flat on his stomach. At K-Radio’s studio, his work station is a couch and a mike has to be lowered to him. An engineer helps him to operate the studio equipment.

“When I could walk, I didn’t know where I was going. Everything I’ve been through has made me focus and be in touch with my godliness,” he says.

“I’m basically like a vegetable,” Nkosi brazenly says of his physical condition, “but this proves to other people that they can make it.”

When Nkosi goes out, two of his friends carry him. He wraps his arms around the shoulders of one friend while the other takes care of his legs.

Mongwe’s bakkie has been customised to allow Nkosi to travel comfortably.

Says Mongwe: “His mobility is a big challenge. He will have to be operated on again so that he can use a wheelchair. We need sponsors for all of this, but people don’t see the bigger picture and just think of cash. After the operation, his energy will be properly channelled.”

“Yeah, I’m a beast, man!” Nkosi responds with a roar of laughter.

Nkosi says: “But people will ask: Invest in him? What if he dies tomorrow? They wonder what (Sean) is doing with this disabled man. Why not leave him to earn a social grant?”

Station manager Veli Mhlanga says he knew Nkosi long before the station was established and that he showed promise.
“Because of good presenters like Rock, we’ve become the fastest-growing community radio station in Mpumalanga – with 142 000 listeners. He’s a true inspiration,” says Mhlanga.

The man who shot him never went to jail. Nkosi says there is no reason to hold grudges, even though he was forced to quit his music and drama studies in Pretoria.

“I decided not to press charges. I didn’t want my family to retaliate and I just let this man live his miserable life and watch me rise,” he says.

In a surprising twist of fate, Nkosi is now composing hip-hop songs for the son of the man who shot him.

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