When he was forced to drop out halfway through his tertiary education, Mosa Puso nearly gave up on life.
However, a voice from within kept him awake and even though he spent close to three years in hibernation doing nothing, the man known popularly as DJ Cue finally emerged from his cocoon.
Today, the former combi conductor is the owner of Cue Beat Production and a corporate DJ on the list of some of the biggest brands in the country.
The 38-year-old, media-shy DJ from Tsamaya village has seen it all in the ruthless dog-eat-dog music industry.
From sleeping next to huge cooking pots and being stranded after a gig, in this candid interview with Voice Reporter Kabelo Dipholo, the man initially known as Cue Master looks back to when he was still a small town DJ hopping from one wedding to the other.
Q. You are a recognisable figure in the Francistown entertainment space, kindly take us back to where it all started.
Thanks for the compliment. Although I’m originally from Tsamaya, I was raised in Francistown and this remains the only city to know my sorrows and joy.
After my Junior Certificate in Selepa, I enrolled with TKM College but I could not finish my course because I did not have any financial support.
Q. That must have been tough to take. What did you do next?
It was in 1997 and I thought it was the end of the world for me.
My agemates were reading for Diplomas and Degrees at fancy institutions and I was stuck in the house with no plan B.
However, just as I was about to lose hope a combi driver by the name of Jerry knocked on my door and offered me a job as a conductor.
Although I was a regular passenger on his combi, the gesture caught me by surprise.
My journey as a combi conductor began at that moment and within a year I got my driver’s licence and saved enough money to buy my first car.
It was an old Corolla, which I got for P2, 000. I began operating illegal taxi routes – police officers were always on my back because I did not have a PSV.
I later sold it and bought another one and continued with my illegal taxi business.
It became a habit for me to buy old cars, modify and resell them at a mark-up.
In total I think I bought about six cars before I eventually got my PSV.
Q. Well it sounds like you know your way around the Ghetto. However, this still doesn’t explain how you ended up behind the decks.
I’m getting there. After obtaining my PSV my taxi became a favourite amongst students. It was notorious for its loud and good music.
I don’t think there was any other taxi with a superior sound. I also had this regular passenger who seemed to enjoy my music – his name was Sidney Nzala, known as DJ Boogie Sid.
He genuinely loved music and our friendship grew.
I remember in 2002 he bought two gemini CD players, a mixer and an amp.
We would then practice at his house almost everyday.
He already knew a bit about mixing while I was in the dark.
We’d do small gigs, playing at parties and soon we met the late DJ Tambai who gave us a platform at his gigs.
We didn’t play for money but for the love of it!
Tambai let us use his sound system whenever we had a gig, like our first ever-paying job in Ntshe.
We played at a wedding and were paid P400. We left the wedding as two satisfied young DJs.
Our reputation grew and soon we were charging around P1, 500, which was a lot of money back then.
Q. Sounds like it was smooth sailing to the top?
Not really, we faced many challenges and disappointments along the way.
I remember a time in Palapye, when Sid and I were left with egg on our face after we staged what was supposed to be our biggest gig.
We had flyers all over and expected a bumper crowd at Club Thatos – it was our time to get paid! But it didn’t go according to plan.
The first patron peeped through the door at 3am. In short nobody came. It remains the biggest flop of my career.
But in this industry perseverance is key. Together with Boogie Sid we went on to establish Goledzwa Music Festival, which has been running since 2010.
Q. What other challenges did you encounter as an upcoming DJ?
Some of the challenges exist even to this day. Promoters still vanish when it’s time to pay.
The biggest challenge for an upcoming DJ is transport and accommodation.
I was once booked to perform at a wedding and transport and accommodation were part of the package.
I slept in a small room with huge pots and dirty dishes.
The next day I had to wait for the car that was supposed to transport me and my sound system because it was still being used for other chores.
Q. It looks like Sid features a lot in your life story. When did you step out of his shadow?
He got transferred to Gabs and I joined a mining company, called Moolman.
At the time I was also a resident DJ at Hard Rock Cafe and later hosted events at Dumela Lodge, Pleasure Island, Francistown Club, Pula Bar and Lizard Entertainment.
Today my annual events include May Day Volleyball tournament, Bikers Night and 80s and 90s.
Q. Why did you choose deejaying over running a taxi?
It was a simple choice. I just decided to do what I loved.
I may return to the transport business one day but for now my focus is music and being a DJ.
I believe I did this to prove to myself that I was capable of doing something that can be appreciated by other people.
A lot of people doubted that a taxi driver whose only skill was increasing the volume on his car radio could become a DJ.
Q. You seem to enjoy a cordial relationship with many corporations. How did you manage this?
In the corporate world image is everything.
Here you are dealing with people who care a lot about their brand and customers, so when you are booked for such events, presentation is everything.
Once you deliver and you prove that you can be relied upon, you can be assured of more bookings.
Q. Nowadays DJs are also recording artists. Any plans for Mr Cue to record music?
I’m working on something. Before the end of this year, this nation will be dancing to Cue sounds.
Q. Besides dodgy promoters and performing to empty halls, what other hardships have you experienced?
It’s now close to 20 years since I became a DJ and along the way I have groomed some people.
I taught them and gave them a platform to grow and shine but they just don’t want to recognise the effort I made.
Today I stand here and say ‘I was made by Boogie Sid’ because it is the truth.
Q. Thank God its Friday, what do you have planned for the weekend?
After a hectic Easter week, I decided to take a break.
I need to rest and prepare for the Volleyball gig next weekend.