Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
The advent of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic in 2019 was an era characterised by angst, fear of the unknown, induced-lockdowns and of course, uncertainty. No one knew what would happen next and the world engaged, the “survival of the fittest” mode.
People were not only deprived of their normal lives, but live entertainment was scarce as well. To bridge that gap, a DJ from Bulawayo, Nospa (real name Fidelis Hapson Macheka) started interacting with elite personnel who hosted a lot of private parties during that period.
He was their DJ of choice, earning him the nickname “DJ WeMbinga” in the process. Loosely translated, “Mbinga” means someone filthy rich.
“There was a time in 2020 where I would host and play for big shots. I did it for about three consecutive weeks and then Ginimbi came to Bulawayo with other ‘Mbingas’ as well. I was invited to play at his private party in the city that attracted more rich boys and someone said to me, ‘You are a DJ for rich people.’
“From there, I started building a relationship with them (Mbingas) to a point where they began supporting my other hustles (selling alcohol and hiring PA System) and that’s how the nickname DJ WeMbinga came about as my brand was synonymous with the rich boys,” he said.
Among the Mbingas that DJ Nospa has associated with include the late Worthwhile Mugabe, Harare-based Scot Sakupwanya, Mike Chimombe, Chimpa, Power Circle led by Tumelo and Bulawayo’s Shasha Gomez, Eddie Toriro, Boss Sly, Moody, Effort and Maroza as well as ministers who he did not want to name.
Amid the darkness that seemed to hover around everyone, some individuals certainly saw a gap to not only do what they love but to actually benefit from it. DJ Nospa is one of those people who carved a niche for himself during that period.
Other than Mbingas, DJ Nospa is also a darling of Mbingresses as he is proving to be their go-to guy when they are hosting events such as baby showers, boutique/company openings and weddings.
These Mbingresses include Harare-based Nelia Kadungure (Ginimbi’s younger sister), Taesa, Beauty (On Point Boutique), Theo Toriro (Slay Sisters Boutique), socialite Brilliantine and Mrs and H (Supermed).
Besides associating with high-profile people, DJ Nospa’s brand is one that is adored by most patrons because of his humbleness and ability to make the people dance.
From house music to hip-hop to local, be it your Zimdancehall, Zim Hip-hop, and urban grooves, Nospa always has music that will certainly appeal to crowds.
This talent is one that has made him a sought-after DJ in the city as his name is always on posters of most notable gigs.
Interestingly, his wings are spreading as he is getting gigs outside the city with one slated for Zvishavane. South Africa also seems to be sold as he has been frequenting the country.
The DJ’s career in the music business began during his college days in 2010 when he was a student at Bulawayo Polytechnic.
He studied Records and Information Science Management and also has a Diploma in IT.
“My career started a decade ago when I was in college. I used to get gigs at 747 and Horizon with DJ Mendoza who liked me and put me under his wing.
How I became a professional DJ is quite funny. My first job at Horizon was being a waiter, something that I was initiated into by my friends, most of who were bartenders since they were studying hospitality.
“They used to work there part-time for extra cash. So, one day when I accompanied them to Horizon, the resident DJ was not feeling well and since I had my laptop close by, I stepped in and played.
The manager was happy and from that day, I got a deal at the club to play,” said DJ Nospa.
The hustling spirit was always in DJ Nospa’s DNA as he also used to write assignments for his classmates to make extra money.
“I used to write assignments for other students to get extra pocket money. Also, when others were in class, I’d be roaming around campus and town taking photographs charging people for my services,” he said.
He vividly remembers the gig that made him famous back in the day, during his college days.
“I remember in 2013 when we were awaiting Winky D to arrive in Bulawayo from Harare and he got delayed, I warmed the crowd with my music selection and people enjoyed.
What’s striking about this gig is that after getting paid, I was able to buy my first professional deejaying gear.“From there, I never looked back as I started getting booked regularly.”
In all the glory DJ Nospa has enjoyed, he has had his ups and downs with his lowest being suffering theft and someone spilling alcohol on his equipment.
“One of my major lows was getting my gear stolen. It was barely a month since I had bought my sound gear and someone broke into my car and stole it. I was distraught as it took me time to recover from that setback.
“Another low was someone spilling liquor on my laptop. The cost of repairing the equipment was steep,” he said.
From humble beginnings, DJ Nospa rose through the ranks and propelled by the hunger to make ends meet, he came of age prematurely as he lost his father at a tender age.
DJ Nospa said his loftiest high, besides getting money and recognition has been people believing in him.
“I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to have people believing in my craft and that has pushed me daily, to continue doing what I was born to do. Nothing refreshes more than that mere knowledge that someone, somewhere believes in me.”
DJ Nospa has warmed-up crowds for many artistes in his illustrious career but close to his heart is South African rapper Cassper Nyovest since “he will give you real value for your money.”
He has a lot of respect for Best Dance/Electronic Album Grammy award-winner DJ Black Coffee even though his inspiration comes from Barbados-born DJ Puffy.
During his recent exploits that have taken him to South Africa where he has been playing at posh nightclubs, Nospa has been hammering one point, that “exposure is very important”.
“Exposure is very important in our industry because you get to see how others are doing out there and this gives you experience and knowledge.
Whenever I go to South Africa, I go to top clubs and watch how the DJs on decks play. I take notes and improve my set. I make it a point to learn something new from them.
“I also go to the Kasi clubs as well so that I can be versatile and appreciate both settings. In Bulawayo, you cannot specialise in one genre, as you need to play at any gig and any type of music.
This is the reason why I always post about exposure to let my fellow DJs know that we need to gather as much knowledge as possible,” he said.
Besides South Africa, DJ Nospa has been to Namibia and Botswana to watch how his fellow DJs deliver their content.
What is it with those involved in the music business and relaxing through listening to music? DJ Nospa is no exception.
“I hardly rest but rather, I go to music streaming platforms to stream and buy music. I need to keep abreast with current trends.
So, when I’m resting, I’m listening to music and preparing my mix for the next gig,” he said. As for advice to up-and-coming DJs, DJ Nospa said one should be humble if they are to become a notable DJ in the industry.
“In whatever you do, just be humble and listen to constructive criticism. Criticism builds you as a creative. Once you get recognition, do not grow a big head and think you are better than everyone.
It’s counter-productive. Last but not least, create your fan base by starting slow and growing gradually.
“Always dress modestly, smell nice and brush your teeth as no client would want to engage with a scruffy individual so how you look is so important,” he said.
As a true hustler, DJ Nospa is the owner of Chekaz Events Pvt Ltd, an events management company that also offers catering and sells liquor as well. — @eMKlass_49