DJ Barkzz spoke to us about his challenges as a disabled DJ, his views on AmaPiano and what he thinks is needed for Mzansi’s House music scene to move forward or grow.
Lloyd Lehlogonolo Babedi, popularly known as DJ Barkzz, puts no limitations to what he can achieve. In 2006 he took steps towards his dream of being a DJ. People tried to belittle him because of his disability, but his passion for music was too loud to pay attention to them. His mind and heart were in agreement, and he embarked on his chosen journey.
“Honestly speaking, it was difficult, nobody took me seriously,” DJ Barkzz explains some people’s reactions when he began. “Well, it’s because abantu aba-understandi i-disability (people don’t understand disability). To them, a person who’s disabled is a person o-helpless ongakhoni ukwenza niks (who has no capabilities),” he stated the reasons people look down on the disabled.
A few ko-Alex (at Alex) could resonate with his vision, amongst those was DJ Cooler, who mentored him. He helped sharpen his skill and gave him a platform to play when others did not. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2015, DJ Barkzz said with a saddened tone.
As his playing experience grew, DJ Barkzz learnt being on decks isn’t about him, but for the people. Hence his stance on AmaPiano (a genre with House music roots that’s being shunned upon).
“If you’re stereotyped, uthi ang’dlali (saying I don’t play) AmaPiano, what if the public that you’re playing for bathanda (like) AmaPiano? What are you gonna do? Are you gonna risk getting fired just because aw’thandi ukudlala (you dislike playing) AmaPiano? So, we need to be more open-minded as abo-DJ,” he explained.
Watch his full video interview below, where he also shares his opinion on how South Africa’s House music may grow.