- Title: Young Congolese woman spins past gender norms on the "wheels of steel"
- Date: 20th September 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (French) SARAH KOSISAKA, GUEST AT MIZIKIN FESTIVAL SAYING: "She is, I think if I am not mistaken, she is the first woman DJ (in Congo), or at least in her age group. She is pushing through, she is going up the ladder and it's a real model for us to always believe in ourselves regardless of what the others might say." (SOUNDBITE) (French) WILLYAM ZAMUNDU, GUEST AT MIZIKIN FESTIVAL SAYING: "It was surprising to see Wendy, DJ Wendy, a woman DJ, but then as soon as she started playing she made people move, she has energy on the stage, honestly it was really good, really good, cool and surprising, it's something new, and we had a good time".
- Embargoed: 4th October 2019 12:59
- Keywords: DJ Wendy Congolese woman DJ breaking barriers in male-dominated industry Dj-ing African music
- Location: KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
- City: KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
- Country: Congo, Democratic Republic of the
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Music
- Reuters ID: LVA00BAXGOTP3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Men have long dominated DR Congo's DJ scene.
However, 21-year-old Wendy Rose Tshibassu, aka DJ Wendy is challenging that stereotype and has risen as one of the most sought after DJs in the DR Congo's capital - Kinshasa.
The self-taught DJ learnt to spin by looking at music videos on Youtube and then tried her hand at mixing at home before hitting night clubs in Kinshasa.
Wendy said she was terrified the first time she played in front of people.
But 10 minutes into her set, she was so absorbed that she spun her tunes until 2 a.m., that is when she realized this was the job she wanted to do.
DJ Wendy says she was further encouraged to pursue Dj-ing as a career, after seeing one of Africa's most prominent woman DJs, Nigeria's DJ Cuppy, who has managed to make it into a successful career.
"There is DJ Cuppy from Nigeria, as I have just said. There is DJ Lady S, originally from Belgium but who works a bit, well I think she is based in the United States. And there is DJ StephhCakess. She is an American who plays in the United States, in New York. These three women have inspired me enormously, they give me, really, they made me realize how beautiful this job is actually. It's a really beautiful job and yes, that's it, it's a beautiful job to be entertaining people actually" she said.
DJ Wendy says she wants other women to see her and think that if she can break the mold in a male-dominated industry - so can they.
But DJ Wendy's journey is not without trials and tribulations. In addition to the challenges of carving out a space in a male-dominated industry, she has also faced harassment, especially in night clubs.
"They don't take you very seriously when you go to places, it's hard, people and clients test you, because they want to see. They won't say: 'Yes, she is a DJ, that's good, we trust her'. No. Because I am a woman they test me. So, to give you an example: there is a wedding, a ceremony, or rather not a wedding but a ceremony and they ask for a DJ. You bring a man and the client is not going to debate with him. 'He is a guy, he is a DJ, he's going to do the job'. But if I go they are going to ask me to do a demo on site. They are going to want to listen to ten, fifteen mixes I have done, they are going to ask which events I played in before," she added.
But DJ Wendy is undeterred and says she wants to inspire other women, that they can succeed no matter what they want to do.
"I want my experience to help actually, to inspire other women to take the risk and throw themselves into jobs that are not usually done by women, to represent, so that females be represented in all professions, in all areas because it is important, it's important that we be represented everywhere because you can't wait for men to be concerned for us about decision making jobs. No one knows what we need better than ourselves, the women," she said.
DJ Wendy played at this year's Mizikin 2020 festival in Kinshasa, an international festival of urban music, where she surprised many who did not expect to see a woman behind the decks.
"She is, I think if I am not mistaken, she is the first woman DJ (in Congo), or at least in her age group. She is pushing through, she is going up the ladder and it's a real model for us to always believe in ourselves regardless of what the others might say," said one of the guests at the festival, Sarah Kosisaka.
"It was surprising to see Wendy, DJ Wendy, a woman DJ, but then as soon as she started playing she made people move, she has energy on the stage, honestly it was really good, really good, cool and surprising, it's something new, and we had a good time," added another guest, William Zamundu.
DJ Wendy says she hopes to turn Kinshasa into a dance music mecca that attracts top DJs from around the world, like Spain's Ibiza.
(Benoit Nyemba, Yvonne Bell, Lisa Ntungimpaye)
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