Its been over a decade that DJ Fanta Jozi has been spinning the decks playing Reggae Dancehall in and around Gauteng province. With humble beginnings hosting a dance session at a community hall in Soweto to hosting international events with Reggae’s big names such as Capleton and Anthony B, Fanta has come a long way. He has helped shape the course of the dancehall scene and amassed a huge following in the process making him the sought after DJ for many a gig, big and small nationwide. He played regularly as a guest on 5fm [national radio station]. You can catch him at the First Friday Reggae Sessions in Newtown, every First Friday of the month where he plays regularly if he is not guest DJ’ing at some other gig. He is a man of very few words who need not much of an introduction in the Reggae Dancehall scene. MzansiReggae caught up with him for a brief one on one session.
How did the name Fanta come about? Did you like Fanta Orange drink that much?
My real name is Bongani, I grew up in Soweto, Tladi. The name Fanta, came when I used to be an opening act for Fanta [soft drink] Roadshows at schools in the late 90’s and Yeah, I love Fanta Orange…so much. LOL
How did your journey as a DJ begin, do you consider it as your career?
I attended a dance in Soweto and the DJ’s didn’t pitch on that night. The organizer asked me to hold the vibez. I played alone the whole night and the massive responded very well to the tunes I was playing.
Reggae industry in SA is not yet that big,still working tireless to one day call it my career.
Do you remember your first official gig, when you headlined an event? Take us back to that day.
My 1st official gig which I organized with my good friend Terry was in Soweto at a community hall called Entokonzweni in Moletsane – that was in 1999. I invited selectors like Jah Crucial, Sound of Edutainment, and more. I was filled with joy on that night, a young boy like myself organizing such a big show.
Did you ever think that you could make a living out of DJ’ing?
Unfortunately, due to the current state of reggae/dancehall scene in SA, I am not making a living out of DJ’ing.
What activities are you involved in outside your work as a DJ?
I am an IT Analyst, and an emerging entrepreneur
What is the most difficult part about being a DJ?
Making people happy even when you not feeling good on that day.
What do you like most about your job?
Seeing the people free, dancing to good music
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
I remember from way back, picturing how it will be like hosting one of the best reggae artist that has inspired me, Capleton. I couldn’t believe my eyes when that dream came to reality. It has been the best highlight of my reggae years.
Whats your take on the Reggae Dancehall scene in Mzansi?
A lot of work has been put on the ground over the years and we are slowly starting to see the fruits of that hard labor. More work needs to be done still on a music professional level to place SA reggae back on top. We need more visible reggae producers, composers, radio & TV programs, artist managers, investors, artists, photographers, videographers, filmmakers, bloggers, etc, and more shows of positive
What would it take for the Dancehall Reggae Circle to open up to newcomers and new ideas? Why do you think there is this much hostility to new ideas?
I ask myself the same question over and over, but based on my experience, I think its because we lack passionate and dedicated soldiers; who are not in reggae as a hobby, status or for money that is not even there, but truly loves the genre and understand the impact it had and still can have in the lives of our communities.
Are you on any mentorship programme? Like mentoring other yutes?
I am not on any formal mentorship programme. I have been asked several times and I do offer help and advice where possible. I have also over the years featured various DJs & artists at my gigs.
What would your advice be to an aspiring DJ?
They must create their own style, be versatile. The masses are always looking for something fresh. Dj’ing is an art that requires creativity.
How do you balance family life with your Job as a DJ?
I have been blessed with a wife who is equally passionate about reggae, making it easy for me to balance the ting. We prioritize the family’s well being first.
Which musicians/DJ do you draw your inspiration from?
Musicians its Capleton, Gentleman, Chronixx, Anthony B and the Mighty Crown Sound, the biggest sound in the world! That’s my opinion.
10/10 with DJ Fanta
1. Your favorite Sound System of all Time.
Mighty Crown Sound system
2. Which artist [outside of Reggae Dancehall scene] would you like to work with.
3. Club Gigs or Street Bash Vybz.
Street Bash Vybz
4. The one chune that you play without Fail at your set.
Buju – It’s not an easy road
5. First ever chune played at the Dance.
Chucky Star – One day
6. Killer opening track of all time at a Dance
Sizzla – No other like Jah
7. Killer closing track of all time at a dance
Buju – Murder
8. Favorite Colour
9. What is music is on your playlist right now?
Too many to list.