South Africans in Birmingham continue to converge on the Ekhaya Centre, where they can rub shoulders with the athletes currently competing at the Commonwealth Games while also enjoying a fascinating mix of art, music and a taste of food from home.
Keeping the vibe going at the venue in the centre of Birmingham is DJ Chief, who hails from Johannesburg but has been based in the UK for 12 years.
“Growing up in Joburg, I was surrounded by lots of amazing local SA music genres, but my favourite was always House,” he explained. “I remember back in the days listening to DJ Fresh and Soul Candi with my friends. Those are some of my favourite memories.”
Speaking about some of the tunes visitors to Ekhaya can enjoy, DJ Chief said: “I am playing the best of South African music. This includes older sounds such as Maskandi and Jazz as well as more modern sounds such as Amapiano and Gqom.
“The aim is to showcase South African music in all its fullness and diversity. And we hope to connect people with home through the amazing music that our country has to offer.”
DJ Chief explained that being part of the Ekhaya experience has been an honour as the centre showcases the best of South Africa to the world.
“The variety of art is amazing… But my absolute favourite has to be the sneaker customisation designers who have been using different South African tribal patterns for each sneaker. I have also loved seeing all our athletes in the venue, and they have made me very proud,” he said.
Asked what makes South African music unique, the renowned DJ, who performs at clubs, concerts and festivals across the UK and South Africa, reckoned: “I think it’s the diversity.
South Africa is a rainbow nation full of many different tribes, races and cultures. Also, the ability we have to create amazing art with limited resources, for example, Amapiano, which is currently the hottest genre in the country, was made by young people in the townships with limited music producing and recording facilities.”