4 June 2018
…DJ Winnie joins the ‘Big League’
CAPE TOWN is home to one of the world’s prestigious heritage sites – Table Mountain.
At the foot of this mountain lies the foreign home to undoubtedly Zimbabwe’s finest and on-demand female club DJ Winnie who has ‘disrupted’ the predominantly male-dominated showbiz scene in South Africa.
Born Winnie Chinyanga in the sprawling suburb of Chitungwiza 25 years ago, DJ Winnie is mostly loved but at the same time hated as she has set the bar so high in the cut-throat industry. She is the last and only girl in a family of five. Her siblings are Tapiwa, Tauya, Tichaona and Amos.
“In the beginning it was a tough battle because entertainment is dominated by men especially in the Zimdancehall arena. As females we feel it’s not our turf and turn to take the backseat or do other admin roles. I told myself I want to change that and I tell you I am enjoying every minute,” said DJ Winnie in an interview. She reveals her ‘toughness’ is partly contributed to the fact that she grew up in a family of boys and at times she would challenge them too.
She is very comfortable at the turntables in any musical genre from house, soul, RnB to reggae dancehall and can also do her own audio engineering.
“During your set you at times you experience technical glitches. Sound can suddenly go off or the controls can get mixed up. I have the expertise to detect and resolve such on my own. The male technicians normally are the ones who want to take the credit and you can see their disappointment when I get things right on my own,” she said with a chuckle.
Just spinning the turntables has not left her content. She is now an entrepreneur and is part of one of Cape Town’s biggest music promotions company – Big League Entertainment famed for promoting Zimdancehall gigs and events. She is normally on set with on-fire MC Buckwild and together they have a couple of mixtapes available on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and other music platforms.
“Despite being underestimated and looked down upon, one has to stay focused if you want to succeed in life. I don’t believe I have made it and I am still far from making it but every day is a God-given chance for me to improve and better myself,” said the religious Winnie who attends the Hillsong Church in Cape Town every Sunday.
In a career that is slightly over six years old, Winnie says the best way to succeed is to be a good learner and remain humble even in the face of humiliation.
“When I am playing as a woman, there are those male DJs who feel they are better than you and play longer than their scheduled slots. Others just won’t respect you and mill around you. I had an incident when some guy became very touchy. I had to stand my ground and tell someone where to jump off,” said Winnie with a serious look.
She has played in places like Dubai on more than one occasion and has numerous shows in Johannesburg not to mention Cape Town, Pretoria and Harare where she had a gig at 1 + 1 at Long Cheng. Among her highlights was the honour to be on the line-up with greats such as Jamaican chanter Beenie Man, Winky D and Killer T.
“My desire is to see the girl child succeed especially in those areas which were historically male-dominated. I am prepared to mentor any focused young lady in my trade and I promise that we as ladies will take over this music business,” she vowed.
“To succeed you don’t need to be privileged. Success does not come easily and your output determines the respect that people give you,” said the former student of Pfumo Primary School in Zengeza 1. She did her high school at Zengeza 2, Hatfield Girls High as well as Mhuriimwe in Seke.
When she is not having gigs she enjoys spending time with friends as well as her dad who lives in Pretoria and is currently not feeling well.
“I lost my mum in 2013 and it has been one of the worst periods in my life. My dad is still around and every opportunity I get I spend time with him,” said Winnie who is turning 26 this coming Saturday and will be celebrating it with her dad.
She gives credit of her growth to her fans in Cape Town, collaborating partners at Shisaka Entertainment, Zignarra MLT and More To Dem who keep encouraging her on her way to the top.
“I want to be remembered as a DJ and not a female DJ. When I am on the turntables the idea is not to look pretty and all, I am up there to have fun and share my love for music with the crowd which is my core focus,” she said as a parting shot.
Fans can get hold of her on Instagram @djwinnienya and DJ Winnie on Facebook.