DJ Maphorisa (Real Name: Themba Sonnyboy Sekowe, born on November 15th, 1987; Age 36 years old) is a South African record producer, DJ, and vocalist. He is often hailed as one of the best DJs and producers from South Africa and Africa at large.
His versatility in music production is unrivaled. He is acclaimed to be the best in his niche owing to his level of expertise and years of experience in the music industry. The producer started his music career at the age of 17. Since then, he has worked with several stars, including internationally recognized music artists like Drake, WizKid, and other big names.
How Old Is DJ Maphorisa and Where Was He Born?
DJ Maphorisa is currently 36 years old, as he was born on November 15th, 1987, in Soshanguve, Pretoria, South Africa. He is of mixed ethnicity; his father is from Nigeria, while his mother is from South Africa.
Contrary to what most people think, DJ Maphorisa is not from Zimbabwe, and he only seems to be more attuned to his mother’s roots rather than his father’s Nigerian heritage. This could be the major reason why many seem to mistake him for a Zimbabwean.
True to the above, he speaks fluent Sepedi, which is the language of his mother’s people, even though he has not specified exactly what part of the rainbow nation she is from. From the language, however, one can surmise that she is Sotho.
There are no precise details regarding his parents and how long their union lasted, but from the little details he has shared about growing up with his mother and uncles, speculations are that his parents were not together for long. His father died in 2020 at the young age of 57. Maphorisa was bred in his birthplace in Pretoria. This is also where he attended primary and high Schools.
One of the things that make his time here remarkable is that his efforts in music began and were nurtured during his years in school here. He Was Named Themba Sonnyboy Sekowe at birth, but his growth and rise to fame as a DJ made his stage name DJ Maphorisa become his more popular moniker.
His Background Inspired His Love For Music
The competent DJ comes from a music-loving background. His mother was part of a gospel music crew, and his two uncles were musicians. This music background played a great role in influencing his love for music at a very tender age. He often listened to his mother play and sing. His uncle would eventually notice his interest and gift him a recording set.
This formed the foundation of his DJ efforts because he used the recording set to make beats from his mother’s music. Themba grew up listening to different music from well-diversified sources, particularly house music. Besides his mother’s songs and beats, he was inspired by some notable household names such as DJ Monday, DJ Fresh, DJ Oskido, and Black Coffee. As soon as his father bought him a computer as a teenager, he used it to upgrade his skills in making music.
He was already familiar with connecting a PS system, an amplifier, and a cassette back then. So he used all that was available to him to create unique Music sounds. He was intrigued by the mixer, light, and an equalizer, the entire sound system. All of these came to play eventually in his career years after he first began the attempts to study and master them.
Music Made DJ Maphorisa Not To Give Full Attention To School
The fact that Themba caught the music bug pretty early resulted in his paying a lot less attention to school activities. He was reported to have collected over 10,000 music files on his computer so that after school each day, he quickly went home to share his music with some of his friends, who used to bring memory sticks to collect music from him.
Apparently, he was better at it and had more gadgets to play around with than the rest of them. Because he had music, electronics, and headphones at a time when most young people didn’t, he became the go-to guy for music at parties and little get-togethers organized around his neighborhood or by his friends. This only helped him become better in his art.
By the time he reached his late teens, the self-taught producer had long become one of his town’s registered DJs. He offered music services at local events such as beauty pageants, weddings, and birthday parties. He could not pull off the A-game at all ends because Themba was an average student at school. After all, he focused mainly on his music, devoting a huge chunk of his time to creating beats rather than studying.
He Dropped Out Of High School To Focus On Music
As early as 17 years of age, young Maphorisa took a bold step by recording and producing his first music titled “Funny face.” He achieved this while he was still in grade 11. Soon after, DJ Maphorisa was discovered by DJ Oskido of Kalawa Jazmee’s record label and was signed under the label as a producer even though he was still a student.
During this time, Maphorisa also worked with DJ Oskido to grow his brand of beats. He needed to make ends meet and pay transport fares from Pretoria, where he lived to Kalawa Jazmee, where he worked, and his take-home was not enough to cover his expenses. To make up for this, he would take on extra DJ jobs and open weekend talk shows to make some quick bucks.
In school, he would sell sweets and lollipops. He eventually saved enough money and bought his first car, which enabled him to transport himself to Kalawa Jazmee for sessions. He was still in high school at this time, but when work became even more hectic, he decided to opt out.
When he broke the news of his intention to drop out of school to his parents, they were heartbroken and tried to convince him to finish especially considering how intelligent he is. He remembers that it took him a lot of time to convince them that dropping out was best for his musical future at the time. His love for music was an overpowering desire, unlike education, which he found boring.
He Is One Of The Pioneers Of Amapiano And Uhuru
DJ Maphorisa’s collaboration with top artists in South Africa in terms of their music production and beat formulation was his biggest claim to fame in the music scene. Amapiano is Dj Maphorisa’s choice music genre, even though he had previously ventured into Gqom.
In his quest to be different and introduce a new sound, Maphorisa, formed a group called Uhuru alongside singers Xelimpilo, Dj Clap, and Mapiano. With this group, he became actively involved in the music industry in 2008. Same as himself, the group worked with Kalawa Jazmee record label.
Their signature sound consisted of a blend of South African house with afro beats which was very well received by their South African audience. The group’s hit song, “Y-Tjukutja,” was arguably the biggest song in South Africa after its release. The song became so huge that Uhuru started getting bookings in Botswana, Zambia, and Angola.
It was during his travels that his sound became African-influenced. He began to appreciate the variety of African cultures and took something from each of them that further influenced his sound. To his credit, Amapiano has gone on to become quite popular in Africa and beyond.
Other Collaborations That Helped DJ Maphorisa’s Rise to Fame
There are a whole lot of things that make DJ Maphorisa stand out among his peers. Chief among them is that he performs in English and his native Sepedi dialect. Considering that South Africa is big on culture, this is a plus for him.
In 2013, he recorded a new level of fame after actively working in the production of Mafikizolo’s hit track “Khona” under Kalawa Jazmee. The song went ahead to top many music shows and won various awards in South Africa and beyond, including song of the year at the 2014 MTV awards.
It was this song that paved the way for him to get across to most other African countries. Not long after, Mafikizolo released another hit single titled “the sound,” which featured international superstar Davido. DJ Maphorisa has collaborated with several other African icons like Wizkid, Akon, and Diamond Platinum.
He Has Worked With Drake and Other International Artists too
DJ Maphorisa’s popularity skyrocketed in 2016 after he co-produced Canadian rapper Drake’s song One Dance featuring Wizkid and British singer Kayla. The song reached the number 1 spot in 15 countries, including Australia, France, and Germany. It topped the US billboard’s hot hundred for 10 weeks and became the 23rd longest top number one song in the history of UK top 100 songs.
The DJ went ahead to release a full album titled Black Boy music under his record label black boy music on November 17th, 2017, shortly after his birthday. In this album, he featured several artists from South Africa and a mix of all genres, which included Vanessa and the Legacy, etc.
He released his first official single titled “midnight starring” while still part of the Uhuru music group in September 2018. The song was warmly received. It featured Moonchild Sanelly, DJ Tira, and Busiswa.
His song “Midnight starring” won an award for “the most voted song” at the third ceremony of Mzansi Kwaito and House music awards on November 27th, 2018. These individual successes automatically shot him into the limelight of his currently booming career. He would go on to start his record label called New Money Gang Records with the aim of promoting local music and giving upcoming talents an opportunity to rise.
DJ Maphorisa’s List of Albums/Collaboration EPs
- Our Father (Collaboration with Uhuru 2013)
- Blaqboy Music Presents Gqom Wave (2017)
- Scorpion Kings EP (Collaboration Kabza De Small 2019)
- The Return of Scorpion Kings (Collaboration with Kabza De Small 2019)
- Scorpion King Live At Sun Arena (Collaboration with Kabza De Small 2020)
- Once Upon A Time In A Lockdown (Collaboration with Kabza De Small 2020)
- Madumane EP (2020)
- Rumble In The Jungle (Collaboration with Kabza De Small & TRESOR 2021)
- Banyana EP (Collaboration with Tyler ICU 2021)
DJ Maphorisa Owns A Record Label
It would be crazy if DJ Maphorisa got to the height of acclaim he has reached in music production without a record label to his name. After he left Kalawa, Jazmee records, the singer and producer, founded the “Black Boy Music’ record label in collaboration with Sony Music. This deal has raised a lot of eyebrows, especially when it comes to music ownership.
However, the talented producer made it clear that the collaboration allows him 100% ownership of his music, gives him room to explore his artistic ideas and also allows him to help/mentor upcoming younger artists, especially ones who are talented in the art of fusing genres and singling in both English and their native dialects.
The label has had commendable success considering the number of artists it has signed. The following are some of the artists under Black Boy Music;
- Bontle Smith
- Mas Musiq
- Myztro Musiq
- Tyler ICU
It is safe to say that Maphorisa has found and struck the right balance between being a singer and earning big from making music as a producer.
DJ Maphorisa Has Been Accused Of Cheating
DJ Maphorisa has been rumored to be in a relationship with Cyan Boujee, who is a social media influencer stop. He has gotten his fair share of scandal as Cyan Boujee reportedly accused the DJ of cheating on her with her girlfriend, who is also a social media influencer.
He is also alleged to be in a relationship with Thuli Phongolo, who is an actress and a DJ. DJ Maphorisa has, however, not confirmed any of the rumors or allegations concerning his relationship with the ladies in question.
He is, however, a single father of one. His daughter’s name is Lesedi. She turned 13 on February 3rd, 2022. DJ Maphorisa has shared a video of his daughter and himself having a nice time on one of his daughter’s birthdays. Details about his baby mama are not available.
DJ Maphorisa Is Active On Social Media
The award-winning DJ Maphorisa has reached a milestone of 1 million followers on Spotify. He is acclaimed to be the only Ampiano artist to get to that number. He has a whopping 2.6 million followers on Instagram and goes by the username @djmaphorisa on Instagram.
His Facebook name on Facebook is DJ Maphorisa, and he has about 330,8559 likes on his Facebook page. On Twitter, he has 1676 followers and goes by his Twitter handle, Madumane @djmaphorisa.
Frequently Asked Questions About DJ Maphorisa
How Old is DJ Maphorisa?
DJ Maphorisa is 36 years old. He was born on November 15th, 1987, in his hometown of Pretoria.
Where Is DJ Maphorisa From?
DJ Maphorisa was born in his hometown of Pretoria, where he also spent his early childhood and teenage years.
What Happened To DJ Maphorisa?
DJ Maphorisa survived an alleged assassination attempt on his way back from a gig with his team and artists. An Audi A4 had opened fire on his Mercedez bus, first from behind and again from the front. Although he was not harmed, some of his artists sustained severe injuries from the incident.