Fiesty, Fearless, Prodigious, Unmatched, Radiant, Determined and World-class are a few words that pop up when I think of this inspiring young woman. I spend time with Khetsiwe Morgan, more widely known as Dj Doowap, to find out what keeps her banging.
When I first heard Doowap’s radio show on Yfm back 2013 when I was in first year, I was intrigued. Now, I was curious to find out who the face responsible for my 9 o’ clock Wednesday evening eargasm is. Fast track 3 years later and I finally get to have a personal sit-down with the dubstep bass DJ. She is well known for her outspoken opinions as she is for her trademark colourful braids.
Her dope dubstep tunes keep the crowd listening. After living in the UK for a few years she’s back in Mzansi and I want to know what it is about her that has everyone continually talking and interested in The Doowap.
A hot Wednesday morning sets the perfect atmosphere for our chat. She is dressed true to her funk – in an orange statement pair of silk wide-leg paisley pants and orange bralet, topping it off with matching orange Nike Air Max’s, she relaxes onto the couch and we begin chatting about our lives. To my pleasant surprise Doowap is not what I expected, and anyone who knows me, knows I love a good surprise. Chatty, open and free-spirited, she allows the conversation to flow, holding nothing back.
Khetsiwe Morgan born in Swaziland, 12 October 1989 – half British half South African, is far from the standard cookie-cutter suburban North cool-kid. Instead of continuing her career as a diver for South Africa, she decided to ditch the board for the beats.
While living in the UK for four years studying Sound Engineering, she constantly hit the London underground bass scene and that’s when it all began. When she moved back to South Africa she decided to start DJ-ing at DJ4Life with Iancredible for some extra cash – playing fresh, bass-driven sounds that not many were familiar with. Within a short while she was scouted by the YFM team to host her own Hot99 Dubstep Chart every Wednesday from 9am-10am.
We are crazy powerful and know your value, ladies. – Dj Doowap
In such a male dominated industry and with very few women making waves in this domain, Doowap strongly advocates for women coalition and empowerment – forming a unit with the kick-ass femcee (female emcee) Lex LaFoy – mixing hip-hop, trap and bass-driven tunes live and DJing for her. After asking her to complete the sentence, “I am yet to see…” she responds by saying “an all-female line-up in Jozi.” She states that she feels lucky to be working with a fellow talented woman also making waves in the industry and one of the only women rappers actually doing something worth talking about #NoShade.
Doowap believes that women need to know their power to unlock their potential – believing that our power does not only lie in our intelligence (although very important) but also the strength in the diversity of our body and overall being. Doowap says, “I’m more like Beyonce, being sexual and not afraid to show my femininity. You should always express yourself the way you like – from the way you dress to the way you style your hair. I know how to talk about serious and important things when I want to but I also wanna be playful and floss what I have and not be made to feel shy, embarrassed or ashamed about it.
“We are crazy powerful and Know Your Value ladies.” Now ain’t that the truth – being the full package is more interesting than just being ithanga lase’ Kentucky, yummy with no substance or value). So yes sistas she is a feminist. She has the same philosophy when it comes to her personal relationship, saying that “every relationship with someone teaches you something, but never lose sight of yourself for another man and always know your value – that way you’ll never allow yourself to be broken by someone or fail. We (women) need to stop participating in the misogyny,” instead Doowap believes “we should ‘sell’ ourselves ncaa with self-respect and not to please other people, leave a legacy that we and those around us will be proud of”. Doowap does this by bringing back the 1990’s old-school vibes such as Salt n’ Pepa, TLC and of course Boom Shaka. Expressing her love for crop tops, high-waisted pants, platform shoes and an insane amount of colour.
We (SA Millennials) are finally learning to embrace ourselves for who we truly are.
This woman never stops, with a whirlwind year. So after playing Oppikoppi, Berlin Fashion Week, being asked to do a TedTalk and a 6-week Europe tour this past winter (their summer), one wonders what is next for this adventurous and outgoing female DJ who lives in the bass. She says, “too much,” but in the coming year, she will be moving to Berlin for a while and touring in Europe again. She is working on her own music which she promises to release soon once it is ready/complete. Timing is everything if one is to maximize on your fullest potential. Doowap promises that when she does drop something, it will be worth being spoken about on the level of, “whoa that’s Doowap from South Africa like OH MY G YOU’VE GOTTA LISTEN! – then I know I would have done my job and honoured my art.”
In the true spirit of A Melenial sista, she is celebrating her freedom to do whatever. The youth in South Africa are only getting that now. “Here we are questioned when something is different’ but Doowap has not let those questions deter her from living out her dreams and being her true Colourful self. She says she has learnt throughout her years to allow things to manifest as organically as possible, without letting many people in on her dream and knowledge – only letting in those on her secret who would contribute to her success. Thus, not letting the pressure of others and things get in the way of global aspirations. Doowap gushes about her excitement for the South African scene and youth as a whole, saying that we are finally learning to embrace ourselves for who we truly are. Drawing inspiration from her younger sister, FKA Twigs and self – no doubt she is destined for great things.
Everything I do is to inspire me and you, I live through love – that’s who I am.
Doowap in 7
1. At my last supper, I… would make chicken stir fry because it’s easy to make and it’s healthy. I would invite; Trash God, Omalumkoolkat, Boogie Maboi, FKA Twigs,
2. The nickname Doowap comes from… when I was at the French school for High school and my guy friends would call me the Doowap. A Doowap is a French chocolate caramel muffin that has a sweet center. So when it was time to choose a stage name, Doowap just made sense and always stuck since my school days.
3. A trend that needs to go already…the tracksuit drop crotch pants that guys wear. Like the ones that Will.I.Am and MC Hammer wear are a BIG BIG NO NO for me. Or at least people are going to wear those kind of pants then they need a new flair. Flat gladiators also must just go already – they are fresh if they are long up to your knees and are heels.
4. I definitely couldn’t live without…music, my cellphone, make-up, sneakers and definitely love – I’m such a lover and love love as cheesy as that may sound it’s true.
5. I am extremely happy and never been more happy. I have found what sincerely and honestly makes me happy and get to live that out every day. Every morning I wake up and get to o exactly what I want and that is all to make me happy. I wet through a long phase before I moved back to South Africa of being unhappy. Now I consciously decide to do all that makes me happy and once something stops serving its purpose in my life and makes me unhappy I walk away. I have had a blessed life thus far and never really experienced much loss until last year when I lost my gran. However I was prepared and we had our last chat, which was a candid and honest, so nothing was left unsaid.
6. One word that truly embodies my being… self-expression!
7. My life’s mantra is… Everything I do is to inspire me and you, I live through love – that’s who I am.
That’s a wrap. After almost 2 hours of chatting, I walked away from our discussion inspired by Doowap’s humility, work ethic and vigour for life.
Images shot by Nomvelo Chalumbira & Simbongile Ndlangisa
Shoot directed by Nomvelo Chalumbira
Styled by Khetsiwe “Dj Doowap” Morgan