A throwback with Dj Dolphus

Kabelo Dipholo

Ghetto’s vinyl legend still rocks the party

“Francistown was on fire. It was a true city of gold and everyone easily made their money.”

This is how Dolphus Mpho Sam describes Ghetto in the 90’s.

A legendary DJ in the city, DJ Dolphus used to be at the core of the second city’s nightlife, staging some of the biggest shows featuring the best local acts.

Born in Siviya village in the North East 45 years ago, DJ Dolphus grew up in both Mabudzane and Francistown.

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His family relocated to Mabudzane in 1991, when he was aged just 16. Two years later, as an inquisitive 18-year-old, Dolphus, visited a popular drinking spot at Ntshe called Monabela.

“That is where I first met DJ Cosmos, who was resident there. I helped him load his sound system at the end of the show and did other menial tasks for him,” recalled Dolphus.

The DJ bug immediately hit the Siviya native and by 1997, with the help of his brother DJ Slim (Bright Monamati), the music-loving siblings formed a formidable pair.

“We started off at Club Night Moves (now Lizard Entertainment) together with DJ Max. We hosted some of the biggest shows at the club. Remember, this was when the likes of Alfredo Moss, Vee and Biza Mupulu were in demand, and they were our regular performers at the club.

“We owe our success to these artists, they were always ready to perform in Francistown,” he said, adding that they also collaborated with Da Drat (Ndaba Ncube, currently trading under the name DVJ Dreazy).

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After making enough money from the popular Francistown nightclub, Dolphus and company acquired a DJ set and sound system.

However, their seemingly unstoppable rise to the top was dealt a severe blow when Night Moves burnt down in 2003.

“Our entire equipment was destroyed. We had to start everything from scratch,” remembered Dolphus, shaking his head at the memory.

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“We were lucky to have guys like Gouveia, Bunz, Colastraw and Timmy (LaTimmy) who came to our aid,” he added.

The duo of DJ Dolphus and Slim re-established themselves at Thapama Pleasure Island where they once again hosted some of the best shows in the city.

“We once again turned to Vee, Alfredo Mos and Astley Gops for our weekly festivals. Back in the days you didn’t need much to bring an artist. Our artists used to use a mini bus as a changing room, unlike today where you have to book a hotel, provide transport and pay deposit. It’s hectic these days. For each P20, 000 you invest on a show you only make P10, 000,” lamented Dolphus.

“Don’t get it twisted. Our shows used to be a real jump. We had the biggest crowds ever and two shows in particular come to mind. One was with Vee at BDF Donga camp. He was still introducing his DRC dancer Coming Soon. We made a killing that night and everyone was happy with their share,” he said with a chuckle.

“Another show was in Serowe featuring Kwaito Weapons (Mantshwabisi Twins). Those guys used to sell out shows when their ‘Mantshwabisi’ song was still new.”

Now a resident DJ at Browns’ Bar in Area L, Dolphus can only reminisce about the good old days.

“I’ve been at Area L for the past 15 years and I’ve seen this industry change. The city is no longer safe. I mean we had pick-pockets back then but they were very smooth, you wouldn’t hear a thing. Today they stare you in the face and demand your phone. Today, youngsters are all about money. They’re impatient and don’t want to learn. I don’t think there’s any youngster who’ll help me lift my music system and help wrap up cables after the show,” ended the visibly concerned veteran.

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