From lifting speakers, Wanzusi is now a celebrated DJ

Fresh from school, he worked as a photographer and would sell photos for cash but little did he know that his future lay elsewhere.

“One day, a friend of mine called me to escort him so we could go make some good money by offloading speakers. We were to be speaker boys lifting sound speakers for Roshe Sounds that I realized it was not difficult but also well paying. As they say, the rest is history and I am now a DJ,” he says of his journey.

Fast forward, the year is 2022 and one of the fastest rising starts in the world of deejaying is Benon Wanzusi, also known by many, especially his fans as Benon deejaywa.

Born in Nampanga village, Siroko district, Wanzusi grew up in Kiswa, Bugolobi in Kampala where he also attended school in his early stages of life.

He later joined Crane High School from 2005 to 2010 for both O/A-levels and later Homeboyz a school for deejays in Kenya where he spent a year, before returning to Uganda.

Wanzusi explains that even while at school, he was doing photography to enable him to get something to eat, he says at first it seemed so lucrative.

However, things changed one day when a friend asked him to escort him somewhere.

“One evening, this friend of mine said we had to go and do some job that would enable us get some good money. He told me the job was a simple one of carrying speakers. We went and realized it was not difficult. I loved the job right away,” he says.

He explains that the first job was at the dinner of Lions Club of Kampala held in one of the hotels in Kampala and that this changed him for the better.

“I was used to photography before he took me. I would take photos at weddings, introduction ceremonies, church services and many other functions. After taking and developing them, I would take them to the reception where the owners paid me,” he says

“However, carrying speakers was a much more paying job than photography to me. For example, with photos, the amount you earned depended on how good you were at luring customers to buy from you. The more copies you sold, the more money you got. With carrying speakers, we would be paid a standard fee of shs15,000.  I realized this was better paying.”

Wanzusi says that as time went on, he continued to love the job and after six months, he fell in love with the way deejays were turning the tables and doing the mixing.

He also realized that deejays were paid much better than ‘speaker boys’ and this meant he had to upgrade.

“I talked to some of the deejays and realized there was a lot of money. My mind changed all together. I decided to give it a try it,” he says.

Wanzusi says he continued observing the deejays as they did their thing but all this time he was learning a thing or two as he carried speakers.

“At first, I didn’t learn how to deejay but how to fix wires because this was the technical bit of it. I observed how the wiring was being done from the amplifier moving sound to the speaker and everything involved. I was lucky that one deejay Moses taught me how to wire the system.”

Wanzusi says that having learnt the art and science of wiring music systems, he was slowly introduced to the decks.

He explains that back then, there were no smartphones but had to pay someone to allow him use his blackberry phone to enable him learn a thing or two.

He says he was still studying and had to juggle both activities, a thing that was not easy for him but since he was determined to achieve from both ends, he had to persevere.

“Because the work at Roshe Sounds was always on Thursdays, Fridays and weekends and in the evenings, it was always easy for me to do it after school,” he says.

After completing secondary school, he went to Kenya’s Homeboyz school for a sound engineering course that he completed after one year.

Starts own company

He says that after school in Kenya, he now had the required skills and started off as a deejay back home in Uganda.

He would later form Wa Deejays, a company and group of deejays.

“I was inspired by the name of Roshe Sounds and developed love to form my own company with a catchy name. I had to come up with something that would make someone inquisitive.

In 2011, I started the company and my first gig was in Mbale for an introduction,” he says.

Wanzusi says after the first gig, he realized he would earn a lot from deejaying and consequently contacted seven of his friends and asked they come together to push Wa Deejay forward as a force to reckon with in the deejaying industry.

“I told them, if there was the successful Ogopa DJs from Kenya and Platinum DJs, ours could also become successful. All of us had been mentored by the same people and it would become easy to come together. We were good at playing old music and playing party music. It would be easy to do something as a group,” he says.

Starting out as Wa Entertainment, their company changed name to Wa Deejays.

“Because we had to get new people, train them to get money, we changed the name to Wa Deejays.”

He says the company was able to teach some of the big names in the deejaying industry in the country.

Becoming a household name

Wansuzi agrees that he is one of the household names in the entertainment industry in Uganda started way back.

He explains that whereas he was in the entertainment industry, few knew him since he didn’t so much want to be in the limelight but rather work quietly but efficiently.

Wanzusi says he can’t thank Sabiti Bryan McKenzie, a celebrated radio and TV personality in Uganda enough.

“He [McKenzie] first organized silent disco for Radio City and gave me a slot to play at the event. Giving me a slot made people get to know me,” he says.

“When I played local oldies music at the silent disco, it changed the game totally. This was the music people grew up listening to that people could sing each and every word. People were amazed. On the night, I walked away with shs155,000 from the fans who loved the music I had played.”

He says he realized local old music is something that people love and realized this was his niche.

“I got this (Uganda oldies music) as my corner and mastered everything about it. Good enough I had collected the music and up to now it is my niche. One trick I use is that I do a lot of research about the music I play.”

He says whereas he has other types of music, he chose to stick to just one: Ugandan oldies music.

The 33-year-old says that being good at whatever he does has enabled him to be hired by many to play at their functions since they are assured of quality output.

“Working at a radio station (Radio City) is of the things I am proud of but my job as a deejay is one I like so much. This job has taken care of my family,” says the father of twins.

“I feel so proud to have made a name. Wherever I move, there are people I find who call out my name. It is something to be proud of. Many would love to give me hugs because of the good job I do playing their favourite music.”

Wanzusi says in the next five years or so, he dreams of helping the needy.

 “I think of helping single mothers to start a new life through doing business to take care of their children. I hope this year, this dream can come true with a launch of the foundation.”

He says he also thinks of giving a helping hand to vulnerable children in slum areas by equipping them with deejaying skills to ensure they can follow in his footsteps.


He advises youths to be people of their words if they are to succeed in this world

“Don’t work hard but work smart. Know what to do and when to do it. Life is a journey and when you are on a journey, you don’t have to stop everywhere. In life you won’t always get what you want but don’t give up. Get something you are good at and perfect it.”

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