Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo, also known by his stage name DJ Black Coffee, is a renowned South African Disc Jockey, songwriter, singer, and record producer. He was born on March 11, 1976 and having begun his career at a young age back in 1994, Black Coffee has endeared himself to many and has become one of the most sought after DJs in the Rainbow Nation. He won the Breakthrough DJ of the Year Award in Ibiza in 2015, but before then, he entered the limelight after participating in the Red Bull Music Academy held in Cape Town in 2004.
Although he owes most of his success to his exploits as a DJ, it is pertinent to note that the Black Coffee has equally done a great job as a singer. He has released five studio albums and a live DVD, garnering lots of awards and nominations in the process. Some of his awards and nominations include South African Music Awards (SAMA), Metro FM Awards, BET Awards, DJ Awards, and Dance Music Awards, among others.
Aside from his professional achievements, the DJ has equally been in the limelight for other reasons, with one being his age, as well as what happened to his hand. While these questions have kept both his fans and the media abuzz for a long time, the DJ has done little to let his fans into his personal life. That being said, let’s tell you everything you need to know.
DJ Black Coffee’s Interest In Music Began At a Very Young Age
Now famed as Black Coffee, the DJ was born as Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo on March 11, 1976. He is a native of Umlazi, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. When he was very young, he moved to Umtata, the hometown of Nelson Mandela, in Ngangelizwe township. Although nothing much is known about his parents and family, it is known that he spent most of his formative years with his mom as a result of his parents’ separation.
Growing up, the young Maphumulo found solace in music, hence, he started singing during his high school days. Consequently, he enrolled at Technikon Natal (now Durban University of Technology), where he studied Jazz music. While there, he formed an Afro-pop trio known as SHANA, alongside his schoolmates Mnqobi Mdabe (Shota) and Thandukwazi Sikhosana (Demor). However, he didn’t complete his studies at Technikon Natal as he dropped out to focus on his music career.
The Accident That Almost Changed His Life Forever
When he was 14 years old, DJ Black Coffee was involved in an accident, which left one of his hands damaged. According to the story he shared on Instagram, the accident happened in 1990, on the eve of Nelson Mandela’s release. At the time, the whole country was filled with excitement, with everyone both young and old celebrating Mandela’s release. The young DJ and his granny also joined the chorus, and while at it, he heard a great sound like that of someone shooting at those celebrating, not knowing it was a car that had lost control.
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It’s been 30 years. 30 years ago excatly at this hour I was in hospital in pain after an accident that took 2 lives while we were celebrating the release of this great human being Nelson Mandela from 27 years of prison. Reflecting on the pain I have been and still going thru while on a journey of recovery learning to accept the new me while being selfless about God’s plans with me. I understand why HE gave me Music,to heal me 1st before it even gets to you. I’m great full for every note and every melody. I will continue to follow HIS lead. God is with us❤️
After the incident, he saw himself and a few others being rushed to the hospital, and although the doctors thought it was a minor injury and sent him home, the pain never subsided even after the next day. Consequently, his granny sent him to see a specialist at a hospital in Durban. There, it was later confirmed that the nerves on his shoulder were damaged, which resulted in him losing the sense of feeling on the arm. It was indeed a very difficult moment in Maphumulo’s life. Although he has experienced several turns and twists because of his paralyzed arm, it never derailed his career pursuit.
Has This Deformity Affected His Music Career?
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While here in Berlin I went to see this great artist @yohnagao yesterday in his Studio and I decided to put on an arm brace. When I was young after the car accident I use to wear one and being a kid it was hard as kids can be mean so I decided to stop wearing it especially in public.It has taken me so much time to appear like this in public because of my own insecurities but I decided to post this picture not just because for years people had their own versions of my story,I did this for myself. This is a big step for me personally,being able to walk freely without over thinking is such a great achievement for me and I'm becoming more confident to do it more often.We all have little/big things that we don't like about ourselves and we often put ourselves down before other people do,I'm personally working towards breaking those chains in my space and I believe with this I'm gonna unlock even more opportunities for myself.Dont let anything pull you down. Fight for the best version of yourself. I've always been tough a person I'd take anything, even inherit other people's problems and bottle them inside while they eat me up, now as a Father I try to teach my kids not to do the same so I'm learning to not to be strong when I'm not supposed to be ,I'm learning to cry and reflect in my own truth and all my faults and I'm trying be better.My dear Brothers it's ok,it's ok to cry. Growing up we were often told "indoda ayikhali".This line has mostly groomed men with no emotions who find it easy to harm other people (emotionally or physically) mostly women.Lets change this. Let's be our Parent's wildest dreams.It starts with facing ourselves then loving ourselves. I'm so proud of me. I love me.
As things would later pan out, Doctors informed DJ Black Coffee that it would take some time before he regains his strength on his injured arm. The young musician passed through lots of difficulties and even wanted to give up at some point, but he never did. He remained persistent, undeterred, and continued making music with his schoolmates – Mnqobi Mdabe and Thandukwazi Sikhosana. The trio was later signed to a record label called Melt 2000.
Few years down the line, Maphumulo discovered his undeniable passion in music production, and consequently, he earned a spot in the Red Bull Music Academy that was held in 2003. Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, Maphumulo put the wealth of experiences he garnered in the music academy to good use, thus releasing his first popular song titled Happiness. Upon release, the song garnered positive reviews and ushered the young artist into the limelight. Interestingly, the song was later featured on DJs at Work album.
More so, Maphumulo’s deformity led him to think that he would never be good enough to work as a DJ. However, in 2005, leveraging on the success of his first song, Maphumulo went into music production (as a DJ), hence, the birth of DJ Black Coffee as we know today. Since then, he has never slowed down in his career, and his works have earned his huge fame in South Africa and beyond. The artist has also performed both on the local and international stage.
DJ Black Coffee Has Released Five Successful Music Albums
Since he entered the South African music scene, DJ Black Coffee has released five studio albums, as well as a live DVD and two EPs. In 2005, he launched his first self titled debut album, which featured collaborations with high profile music stars like Thandiswa Mazwai, Busi Mhlongo, and Hugh Masekela, among others. The album was well-received by fans and music lovers across South Africa. It fetched Black Coffee his first award at the 2006 MTN SAMA Awards.
Two years later, in 2007, the talented DJ released his second studio album, Have Another One, with collaborations with Siphokazi, Busi Mhlongo, and Kwaito. This album was also a hit and a commercial success, garnering positive reviews both in South Africa and Europe. Another album followed in 2009 and was titled Home Brewed. His live DVD, Africa Rising, was released in 2010, and the album sold double platinum within the first month after its release. It also featured the likes of Bucie and Toshi Tikolo.
In September 2015, DJ Black Coffee took the SA music industry by storm as he launched another music album titled Pieces of Me. The album got positive reviews and was certified platinum in October of the same year. He had collaborations with Lungi Naidoo, Portia Monique, and Ribatone. In 2016, he released an EP titled The Journey Continues, and two years later, he followed it up with another EP Music is King.
He Has Garnered Lots of Awards And Recognition
Since the inception of his career, DJ Black Coffee has recorded tremendous success in his career, garnering several awards and recognition in the process. He has also made huge wealth through his career and is regarded as one of the most bankable African music artists, with a net worth of $60 million. Black Coffee also made history in 2010 when he staged a 60-hour non-stop performance at Maponya Mall.
His exploits have equally seen him perform at high-profile events, including the 2016 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Ultra Music Festival. That said, it is not surprising that the South African DJ has got over 18 award nominations, out of which he has won a few. He has also headlined several tours in South Africa, America, and Europe. Some of these awards include:
- SAMA Best Urban Dance Album – 2005
- South African Music Awards – 2010
- SAMA Best Male Artist – 2010
- Health Magazine Best Man – 2010
- Metro FM Award for Best Produced Album – 2010
- Metro FM Award for Best Dance Album – 2010
- Channel O Award for Most Talented Male Artist – 2011
- Sunday Times Generation Next Award for Coolest DJ – 2012
- SAMA Best Dance Album – 2013
- Sunday Times Generation Next Award for Coolest DJ – 2013
- Sunday Times Generation Next Award for Coolest DJ – 2014
- DJ Awards for Breakthrough DJ of the Year – 2015
- AMA Best Dance Album – 2016
- Album of the Year Best Engineered Album International Recognition – 2016
- BET Award for Best International Act: Africa – 2016
- DJ Awards Best Deep House DJ – 2016
- DJ Awards Best Deep House DJ – 2017
- Dance Music Awards South Africa Best International Producer – 2018
- Best International DJ – 2018