Born Nkosinathi Maphumulo, DJ Coffee grew up in some of the poorest areas in the country. But despite his difficult circumstances, he was always surrounded by music and from a young age, he knew that he wanted to play internationally.
However, his dreams were shattered when a minibus tax ploughed into him and fellow bystanders who had gathered to celebrate the release of Nelson Mandela. The incident left the teenager with a brachial plexus injury. This brachial plexus is the group of nerves that control the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand muscles, as well as provide feeling in the arm. In DJ Coffee’s case, the damage to these nerves was so great he permanently lost the use of his left arm.
At the time, the young man thought that his musical ambitions were over. But little did he know he would grow up to be one of the biggest names in the South African house music industry. After achieving his career break in 2004 in the Red Bull Music Academy, DJ Coffee now has multiple gold and platinum-selling albums to his name. He has collaborated with some of the biggest stars of our time, including the likes of Hugh Masekela and Drake, and regularly plays at Ibiza and recently headlined at Coachella in California, one of the biggest arts and music events in the United States.
DJ Coffee’s experience of disability moved him to create the DJ Black Coffee Foundation, which helps to fund sound production training for disadvantaged students.
The Foundation also partners with Bridges for Music, which is a non-profit organisation that gathers key players of the music industry to support its responsible development in developing countries, leaving a positive impact in disadvantaged communities and helping to raise global awareness about local issues through music.
So just how did this talented musician overcome such a tragedy, this excerpt from the stars Facebook page: “It [the day of the accident] was a big day for the country and the world at large. It was the people’s lifelong dream coming true. While I was out celebrating this moment my world was turned upside down. All my dreams of being involved in music were shattered. But faith kept me going, it kept me alive. I used to hate this day.. every year it would depress me. But I have come a long way since then and I’ve learnt so much about myself. Now I celebrate this day because it changed my life. Because of this day, I’ve learnt to push all the limits and I’ve worked twice as hard to realise my dreams in music.”