DJ Maphorisa Biography: Who Is the Record Producer and What Is His Age?

DJ Maphorisa is a 36-year-old DJ, record producer, singer, and songwriter famously known for producing several hit singles such as ‘Ngud’ by Kwesta and Uhuru’s ‘Y-Tjukuta’. DJ Maphorisa was born on November 15th, 1987, as Thembisa Sekowe.

Maphorisa is one of the best DJs in South Africa and Africa as a whole. Over the years, he has worked with many local and international artists, producing several chart-topping singles. He has also released his own hit songs and collaborative albums. A well-known record label owner, Themba Sekowe, owns BlaqBoy Music which houses artists like Daliwonga and Bontle Smith.

DJ Maphorisa’s Biography Summary

  • Full name: Thembisa Sonnyboy Sekowe
  • Nickname: DJ Maphorisa/Lawd Phori/Madumane
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: November 15th, 1987
  • DJ Maphorisa’s Age: 36 years old
  • Ethnicity: Black
  • Nationality: South African
  • Zodiac Sign: Libra
  • Sexual Orientation: Straight
  • Religion: Christian
  • Marital Status: Dating
  • DJ Maphorisa’s Girlfriend: Thuli Phongolo
  • DJ Maphorisa’s Children: 1 daughter; Lesedi
  • DJ Maphorisa’s Height in Inches: 5 feet 5 inches
  • DJ Maphorisa’s Height in Centimetres: 167 cm
  • DJ Maphorisa’s Weight: 73 kg (161 lbs)
  • DJ Maphorisa’s Net worth: $2 million
  • Famous for: Producing several hit songs like Ngud by Kwesta and Uhuru’s Y-Tjukuta
  • DJ Maphorisa’s Instagram: @djmaphorisa
  • Twitter: @DJMaphorisa
  • Facebook: @DJMaphorisa

DJ Maphorisa Has a Nigerian Father and a South African Mother

DJ Maphorisa is 36 years old. In Soshanguve, Pretoria, he was born on November 15th, 1987. And based on astrology, his zodiac sign is Libra. Though he began his career at the age of 17, DJ Maphorisa became a global star when he co-produced Drake’s mega-hit song, ‘One Dance’ at the age of 28.

Contrary to some beliefs, DJ Maphorisa is not Zimbabwean but South African. His birthplace is Soshanguve, Pretoria. Nevertheless, the renowned record producer is of a mixed background as his father was a Nigerian, and his mother is a South African citizen. His father died at the age of 57 in 2020.

Though sometimes mistaken for a Zimbabwean, DJ Maphorisa fluently speaks Sepedi, which is believed to be the language of the Sotho tribe in South Africa, where his mother reportedly hails from.

Thembisa Sekowe is DJ Maphorisa‘s real name. The meaning behind his stage name is unknown. Interestingly, the Pretoria-born is not only recognized by his professional name across Mzansi but also famously recognized by other monikers such as Madumane and Lawd Phori.

He Dropped Out of School To Focus on Music

DJ Maphorisa grew up around his mother and uncles, who were passionate about music. And this hugely influenced his career choice. Maphorisa’s mom reportedly ran a ministry, which first got him exposed to Gospel music. While growing up, he always stayed around musical instruments and then learned how to plug in a PA system.

He kicked off his career in his teens while completing his secondary school education in Pretoria. Needing some cash to get his career moving, he worked as a local DJ on weekends. He also opened a tuck shop at home just to make more money and sold sweets and lollipops at school. Later in grade 11, when he bagged his first music deal, Maphorisa left school to pursue music and didn’t finish matric.

The decision was very easy for him to make at the time as he wasn’t going to school when he landed the deal. However, his dropping out of school didn’t sit well with his parents. He shattered their hearts when he told them about his decision, and it took him a long while to convince his parents that school was boring to him. Nevertheless, he attended college and studied A (technical) courses before finally bowing out.

Despite carving out a successful career without acquiring a sound education, DJ Maphorisa has made it known that he plans to go back to school, as sometimes he finds it hard to understand some of the contracts he needs to read.

DJ Maphorisa Was a Member of The Defunct Group, Uhuru

After years of working as a local DJ, playing at parties, weddings, and events, DJ Maphorisa moved on to join the now-defunct quartet group, Uhuru. The South African music group was created in 2012 and consisted of Maphorisa, DJ Clap, Mapiano, and Xelimpilo. Through DJ Clap, who was a signee of Kalawa Jazmee Records, co-founded by DJ Oskido, the group also got signed to the record label.

In 2013, Uhuru garnered immense popularity following the release of their chart-topping single, ‘Y-tjukutja’. The song was dubbed SA’s song of the year. The band then shone brighter on global stages in the next year as their collaborative single with Mafikizolo, ‘Khona’ topped many music charts and also clinched several awards, including the 2014 MTV Africa Music Award.

With some of the group members going solo in 2015, Uhuru rebranded and added new faces. They moved on to feature in Davido’s song, ‘The Sound (Remix)’ alongside G-Eazy in 2016 and equally dropped their fifth album, ‘Free Prophecy, Vol 1’ the same year before disbanding subsequently.

He Kicked Off His Solo Career In 2016

Following the disbandment of Uhuru, Phori kicked off his solo career with a collaboration with Nigeria’s Wizkid in a song titled, ‘Soweto Baby’ in 2016. The smash single won the 2016 MTV Africa Music Award for Collaboration of the Year. He then went ahead to drop a studio album, ‘Gqom Wave’, the next year, and it was a commercial success, having attained a gold certification from the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA).

The skilled DJ explored both gqom and hip-hop in the Extended Play. Later in 2018, he took the music industry by storm with the release of the banger, ‘Midnight Starring’ featuring DJ Tira, Moonchild Sanelly, and Busiswa. The song was nominated for two awards at the 2018 DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards but eventually won the Mzansi Kwaito and House Music Award for Most Voted Song.

Later in September 2021, DJ Maphorisa dropped a single, ‘Abalele’ with Kabza De Small, featuring Ami Faku. He has mostly collaborated with Kabza on several music projects throughout his career.

Maphorisa Has Produced Songs For Many Famous Artists

As one of the sought-after producers in house, gqom, hip-hop, and amapiano in South Africa, DJ Maphorisa has conjured club bangers for a diverse range of artists, including international stars. And they include Wizkid, Davido, Runtown, A-Reece, Cassper Nyovest, Sjava, Kwesta, DJ Zinhle, Mlindo, Black Coffee, Kabza De Small, TRESOR, Young Stunna, and C4 Pedro.

He came to the limelight as a talented producer while still a member of Uhuru. In 2013, he, along with his bandmates, produced a mega-hit song, ‘Khona’ by the Afropop duo, Mafikizolo, when they made a comeback. He also produced the duo’s album, ’20’ in its entirety. Maphorisa additionally worked in the production of Wizkid’s single, ‘In My Bed’ from his 2014 album, ‘Ayo’.

Then in 2016, he exceptionally showcased his skills in the production of ‘Ngud’ by Kwesta. The song topped the South African music chart and was certified 5x platinum by RiSA. ‘Ngud’ still ranks as one of the biggest South African hip-hop hits ever. Furthermore, in 2017, DJ Maphorisa co-produced ‘Particula’, a collaborative song with Major Lazer featuring Ice Prince, Nasty C, Jidenna & Patoranking.

A music masterpiece that transcends genre, ‘Particula’ is rated as one of the biggest crossover hits of 2017. In the same year, DJ Maphorisa conjured another music masterpiece for Shekhinah, ‘Suited’, and it was certified diamond by the Recording Industry of South Africa. He is further credited as the producer of ‘Ngempela’ by Sjava, ‘Jazabel’ by Professor, and ‘Via Orlando Remake’ by DJ Vetkuk vs Mahoota feat. Dr. Malinga.

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In April 2021, Tyler ICU’s EP, ‘Banyana’, produced by Themba Sekowe, was released. The extended play featured Daliwonga, Sir Trill, Mpura, Kabza De Small, and Visca. It accumulated more than 4 million streams and gained double platinum certification from RiSA. Maphorisa also produced two singles, ‘Nyota’ and ‘Makosa’, for Congelese-born singer TRESOR in October 2021.

He Also Co-Produced Drake’s Chart-topper, One Dance

In the year 2016, DJ Maphorisa went global as he was credited as the co-producer of Drake’s song, ‘One Dance’ featuring Wizkid and Kyla. The 36-year-old produced Wizkid’s verse on the global hit song, which topped musical charts in 15 countries, including Germany, France, Australia, and the UK.

For an incredible ten weeks, ‘One Dance’ topped the Billboard Hot 100 non-consecutively. Also, it emerged as the tied third-longest consecutive No. 1 song in the UK Singles Charts history. The song was certified platinum in the UK and gold-certified in Australia.

Maphorisa Frequently Collaborates With Kabza De Small

Throughout his illustrious career, DJ Maphorisa has thus far worked on six music projects with Kabza De Small. The two artists refer to themselves as the ‘Scorpion Kings’, and on some occasions, they work with other artists. Their first collaboration, ‘Scorpion Kings EP’ was released in the year 2019. They followed it up with the release of ‘The Return of Scorpion Kings’ the same year.

Then in 2020, the two artists collaborated on two Extended Plays titled, ‘Scorpion Live At Sun Arena’ and ‘Once Upon A Time In A Lockdown’. The latter was released in April 2020 and had 15 tracks. It also featured more than 20 artists, including Shasha, Bontle Smith, Busiswa, and Howard. Later on April 9th, 2021, the two amapiano stars dropped another collaboration work with TRESOR titled, ‘Rumble in the Jungle’.

And their latest collaboration, ‘The Konka Mixtape: Sweet & Dust’, was released in May 2023. It featured top music artists and had twenty-five tracks.

He Owns a Record Label Known as Blaqboy Music 

DJ Maphorisa established his record label, Blaqboy Music, shortly after leaving Kalawa Jazmee Records. In collaboration with Sony Music, the record label was founded and has been focused on the development of young, talented artists. In 2017, Madumane worked with some of the artists signed to the record label in the project, ‘Blaqboy Music Presents Gqom Wave’.

Over the years, Blaqboy Music has signed numerous artists, such as:

  • Shasha
  • Daliwonga
  • Mawhoo
  • Bontle Smith
  • Howard
  • Zingah
  • Lucasraps
  • Mas Musiq
  • Zingah
  • Myztro Musiq

A Breakdown of DJ Maphorisa’s Discography

Collaborative Albums

  • The Konka Mixtape: Sweet & Dust (with Kabza De Small) (2023)
  • Ba Straata (2022)
  • Banyana EP (with Tyler ICU) (2021)
  • Rumble in the Jungle (with TRESOR & Kabza De Small (2021)
  • Madumane EP (2021)
  • Once Upon A Time In A Lockdown (with Kabza De Small) (2020)
  • Scorpion King Live At Sun Arena (with Kabza De Small) (2020)
  • The Return of Scorpion Kings (with Kabza De Small) (2019)
  • Scorpion Kings EP (with Kabza De Small) (2019)
  • Blaqboy Music Presents Gqom Wave (2017)
  • Our Father (with Uhuru) (2013)

Singles Produced

  • Ngud, Afro Trap, Mayibabo – Kwesta
  • Omalicha Nwa and The Banger – Runtown
  • Love Portion, Khona, and Kucheza – Mafikizolo
  • Trap and Gang – Whysl
  • In My Bed – Wizkid
  • Suited – Shekhinah
  • Particula – Major Lazer & DJ Maphorisa ft. Jidenna, Nasty C, Patoranking, and Ice Prince
  • Jazabel – Professor
  • Via Orlando Remake – DJ Vetkuk vs Mahoota (ft. Dr. Malinga)
  • Ngempela – Sjava & DJ Maphorisa ft. Howard

His Industry Awards/Recognition

  • MTV Africa Music Award for Collaboration of the Year – Soweto Baby (2016)
  • Mzansi Kwaito and House Music Award for Most Voted Song – Midnight Starring (2018)
  • Soundcity MVP Award for African DJ of the Year (2023)

A Look at Some Controversies Faced By DJ Maphorisa

On several occasions, DJ Maphorisa has had fallouts with other music artists on social media. From arguing with Davido about him being the first Nigerian to do amapiano to his public virtual fight with MacG, who dubbed him the ‘Amapiano gatekeeper’. Here are more details of the controversies the DJ has been involved in.

Exploitation Accusation

DJ Maphorisa was accused of exploiting Kabza De Small after Kabza’s interview with Black Crown Gin & Tonic resurfaced on social media in July 2022. Therein, he admitted he had no knowledge of Maphorisa releasing his album. Afterward, the ‘Midnight Starring’ hitmaker took to Facebook Live to set the record straight.

He explained that though Kabza wasn’t aware of the release, it was the best decision for both of them as their Scorpion Kings collaborations have encountered tremendous success. He added that he had invested much in Kabza and didn’t get recognition for some of his efforts. As such, people should show him respect than criticize him online.

Fallouts With Makwa and Dr. Malinga

In September 2021, Themba Sekowe and producer, Makwa had heated altercations on Facebook. They hurled insults at each other as Maphorisa accused Makwa of copying his work in Kwesa’s song, ‘Ngud’ to produce Kwesa’s hit single, ‘Spirit’, which made his career. While addressing the fallout, Makwa stated that DJ Maphorisa didn’t make him as speculated.

Maphorisa, on the other hand, went on Facebook Live to say that Makwa was disrespecting him, claiming that he was on drugs. The latter subsequently cleared his name from taking hard substances and asserted that he had been clean for some months. Also, in that same month, the DJ ranted on Facebook Live about Dr. Malinga being jealous of him.

He then gave him an ultimatum to be transparent about how he feels about him, or he could come after his life when next they bump into each other. Not finding the threat funny, Dr. Malinga asked Maphorisa to apologize, or he would take legal action against him. Consequently, the award-winning DJ took to Facebook to apologize to both Dr. Malinga and Makwa, saying he was sorry for saying inappropriate things.

FAQs About DJ Maphorisa

1. Who Is DJ Maphorisa?

DJ Maphorisa is a South African DJ, record producer, singer, and songwriter famously known for producing several hit songs such as ‘Ngud’ by Kwesta and Uhuru’s ‘Y-Tjukuta’.

2. Where Was DJ Maphorisa Born?

In Soshanguve, Pretoria, DJ Maphorisa was born on November 15th, 1987. His birth name is Thembisa Sekowe.

3. DJ Maphorisa’s Age?

DJ Maphorisa’s age is 36 years. His date of birth is November 15th, 1987.

4. How Old is DJ Maphorisa?

DJ Maphorisa is 36 years old. He was born on November 15th, 1987, in Soshanguve, Pretoria.

5. What Happened To DJ Maphorisa?

DJ Maphorisa was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend, Thuli Phongolo, on May 7th, 2023. He subsequently appeared in Randburg Magistrate Court and was released on bail of R4,000 after Thuli filed a withdrawal statement agreeing to his release.

6. Where Is DJ Maphorisa From?

DJ Maphorisa was born in Pretoria, where he spent his early life and teenage years. His mother reportedly hails from the Sotho tribe, while his father was a Nigerian.

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