Posted: 28 October 2021

In the third and final episode of Black Magic, we sit down with Nombuso Mathibela, Molemo Ramphalile, Naledi Chai, and Vusi Hlatywayo, all DJs based in Johannesburg. The episode responds to Can Themba's monologue from Lionel Rogosin’s 1959 film, Come Back Africa. In the scene, Rogosin foregrounds the shebeen as a political site that produced counter-textualities about black South African subjectivities under apartheid. In response, we offer the DJ booth as an equally important site post-apartheid that is potentially equally concerned with contemporary socio-economic concerns. This episode troubles the notion of the panel discussion by borrowing from the shebeen, which democratises discourse to offer the DJ as a maker of worlds. 


Naledi Chai is a Johannesburg based DJ, multidisciplinary visual artist, researcher and one-half of The Fly Machine Sessions, a DJ and research collective working in Johannesburg. Under her DJ moniker, Mama Zeph, she uses the dancefloor to make left-field music right.

Molemo Ramphalile is a researcher, writer and music head from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Nombuso Mathibela is a Johannesburg based feminist educator, writer, vinyl collector and selector. Her sonic research interests span folk, anti-colonial, nationalist and feminist music histories and political aesthetics.

Vusi Hlatywayo is a graphic designer, DJ, archivist and one-half of The Fly Machine Sessions, a DJ and research collective working from Johannesburg. He is interested in the relationships of apartheid-era pop music and how they trouble narratives of black experiences under apartheid as only encompassing precarity.

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