By KATLEGO NKOSI
A few connections. An ask here and there. Instagram stalking and a quick well-constructed direct message. A ready and willing student photographer who is also an upcoming DJ to join my adventure. A fifteen-rand taxi to Makhanda’s township and almost getting lost. This is all it took to meet with Lazola finally. A face in Makhanda.
The way I met Lazola, popularly known as DJ Admix SA, is precisely how our interaction carried throughout our interview on that autumn Sunday afternoon. A hasty character bumps into Tlamelo, the photographer, and me as we enter the gates of Jazz Corner in Joza. Instantly, he knows we are there for him. Surrounded by the sounds of chilled deep house, Lazola speaks with us, integrating his speech with the music he loves most. He tells how he fell in love with music and became a well-known entertainer in Makhanda. “My dad used to collect reggae; my mom used to listen to a lot of soul,” he recalls. This is how his vast musical palate was formed and nurtured. Lazola now prides himself on his incredible ear for music, impressive knowledge of people and human interaction but, most importantly, his ability to see opportunity and go for what he wants.
This is true for his pride project, The Soulful Connection. Lazola started this weekly event three years ago at Jazz Corner in the township of Makhanda, reviving the once-famous hotspot and breathing new life into it.
He remembers: “I didn’t take DJ bookings for six months cause I wanted to start my own thing. I saw this place and thought ‘I could do something here’. I told the owner to put me on the poster and see what would happen. He called me the following week after my event and gave me 500 bucks. He said he believed that people came here for me. That’s when he said, ‘choose a day where you can do whatever you want to do’. I chose Sunday. Sunday belongs to deep house. That’s how it started.”
Responding to the photographer’s cues, Lazola’s business brain keeps ticking. “Don’t ever underestimate the power of photography,” he preached. “Photography makes an epic event memorable.”
This short encounter sure is memorable to me.