Kool Out Creative Director


So someone took a shot of Oprah’s trademark spirited salvo of gift-giving to her audience and made a crass meme ridiculing artists, creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs who find themselves in precarious positions because of the Coronavirus outbreak. It’s no joke, kuya nyiwa and kusazo nyiwa for a coupla months.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 209,000 people have been infected by the Coronavirus and just below 10,000 people have died. These numbers are expected to rise, with countries such as the US and South Africa still in the early stages of this pandemic. Mzansi President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday announced a National state of Disaster, banning all large gatherings.

Oprah Winfrey meme
Oprah Winfrey meme

It has affected global finances, the sport industry and has forced politicians to unify. But the art and entertainment industry, which more often than not isn’t taken serious, has also taken a heavy blow that has left its contributors stressed about where the next pay cheque will come from.

“This is pretty much 80% of my income so it’s definitely been a major crisis to deal with,” says Akio, DJ and Creative Director at Kool Out. “I’ve had about 15 bookings cancelled for the 3 weeks next month and that includes 2 countries outside South Africa. Beyond that, everything has been considered “put on hold” since we don’t really know what’s going to happen. If it reaches into June, then I have to cancel my US tour and possibly my Europe tour in August.”

The DJ recently got back to South African after a series of gigs in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. “Getting back in was pretty smooth, but I was worried. I think the strictest measures only begin today [Wednesday]. Also, the country I was in isn’t high risk and only confirmed their first case on Monday.”

Actress Nyeleti Ndubane, whose show Alice In Wonderland at the Pieter Torien Theatre in Montecasino has been cancelled with only a week left in the production, admits she is panic mode. “What scares me the most is the fact that this current state of uncertainty that is affecting all areas of our lives is something we just have to live with ‘until further notice’. I’m a performer. This Corona situation is making it impossible for me to do what I love- and the worst part is that this will be my reality- until further notice…”

For Melanie Ramjee, a PR specialist at Tutone Communications the pandemic has forced her clients to postpone big events such as the Boys II Men South African tour as well as the Scorpion King Live concert which were both meant to take place next month.  “…business wise [I’m] beyond panic. There’s obviously no money coming in, my husband is also in entertainment and we both don’t have business insurance, so ja they’ll be overheads this month where we probably won’t make ends meet,” she says.

“I think people are not making light of it in the industry, maybe outside of the [art/entertainment] industry people don’t take it as serious. I’m in a few WhatsApp groups with publicists and another one with music industry females and everybody is super panicked record labels…all gigs have been cancelled- that means artists and DJs are not making any income. I think the ramifications are a lot longer than we think they are, I think even when we get on our feet and things have calmed down, because I just feel we’re on the first wave. I think when that does happen, people will be paying bills that they probably could not have paid for three months…umm, I think as much as South Africans do wanna have fun and we joke about stuff and everything is a laugh,  this is serious.”

For a patron, if a gig is cancelled or postponed there’s always an option of a refund. But event organisers are left in tatters if they’ve already paid deposits to artists set to perform, in addition to the money invested in marketing and promoting a gig.

“I think it’s different for different cases,” says Ramjee. “I can only talk for my shows. For Boys II Men, they won’t return the money because they were paid 50% upfront, we just postponed the event. I think a lot of events are postponed until further notice, so a lot of the artists will keep the 50%. I don’t know of any instances where artists have been asked back for the money. But definitely from the promoters side, they have to return refunds to the public, they will stand at a loss if the event doesn’t happen in future. The return of funds, depends on your contract, really the truth is, there won’t be this sorta clause in the contract because it’s an act of God per se. People are gonna have to review their contract moving forward how that works. But definitely I don’t know of cases where artists have been asked for the money back, but then again some artists get paid on the day of the show or the day before if they don’t have proper management with contracts.”


“I played 0 to 100. Check the lyrics. As they’re telling me to play music without cursing, I’m literally hearing Drake cursing his ass off on the speakers. Was an embarrassing moment”

That’s the awkward moment prominent turntablist Akio Kawahito found himself in, on Saturday evening playing at Lauryn Hill’s after party. The DJ who is popularly known as DJ ID, was playing at Ms. Hill’s private gig, after she and Nas gave eager South African fans performances to remember. But things got a tad uncomfortable for the Kool Out Creative Director when he was asked to change a Drake song he was playing, that had one too many curse words for Ms.Hill’s liking.

“I didn’t really have a set planned, but I had a direction in mind. It was going to be a mix of Hip Hop, Afrobeats, Dancehall, and Reggae. After I got scolded for playing tracks with cursing, I got pretty shook because I was already nervous playing for Lauryn so I switched to Kwaito for a bit because I figured I’ll play some music she won’t understand,” said Kawahito.

Fuck bein’ on some chill shit

We go 0 to 100 nigga, real quick

They be on that rap to pay the bill shit

And I don’t feel that shit, not even a little bit

Oh Lord, know yourself, know your worth, nigga

My actions been louder than my words, nigga

How you so high, but still so down to Earth, nigga

Niggas wanna do it, we can do it on they turf, nigga

Oh Lord, I’m the rookie and the vet

Shoutout to the bitches out here holdin’ down the set ….are some of Drake’s lyrics from 0 to 100.

Hill was in the country this past weekend as part of her Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill 20th Anniversary tour that has seen her perform in various parts of the world, celebrating her 1998 classic album. But from the day it was announced last year, that she would come to Mzansi, a lot of people were skeptical of her punctuality, or lack of. She also been marred by reports of cancelling and postponing some of her Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill Anniversary legs, but delivered on Saturday night.

“I think as much as people love seeing a come up, they also love watching a star fall. There was definitely a lot of negativity and uncertainty on social media. I won’t lie, even I questioned it and I was in direct contact with her team. In the other hand she handled it like a true professional. Production ran more or less on schedule and she absolutely smashed it,” says Kawahito.

Despite being scolded during his mix, Akio left the venue having impressed the superstar who praised him. “All I wanted to do was to impress her so I was hella nervous. My sole role was to play music that she could vibe to so while the people were important, they were secondary to me trying to please her.”


SOUTH AFRICA’S currently the world’s biggest fad, based on the number of international guests coming to our shores this season. One of the world’s coolest parties, Everyday People, is to be hosted down South on the motherland.

“I firmly believe that SA is one of the most popular trends in the world right now based on how much interest I have seen in the music and culture while touring overseas,” says Kool Out Creative Director, Akio Kawahito. Kool Out, together with Feel Good Series and Nescafé will be Everyday People‘s South African partners for the two events which will be hosted in Joburg and Cape Town next weekend.

“Everyone is looking to Africa right now and in particular South Africa. I definitely believe that Everyday People is getting a jump on everyone else and will further cement SA’s rep overseas as a destination spot.” Akio says.

The Delicious Festival takes place this weekend and is headlined by international songstress Erykah Badu and Jordan Rakei. While a number of international jazz kats will grace the Joy of Jazz stage later this month, including vocalist Bilal, events such as the Global Citizen and Afro Punk are also concerts stuffed with overseas artists. All these grow the notion that Mzansi is the place to be, this warm season.

But DJ Akio says Everyday People‘s decision to launch their growing brand on the African continent was organic more than anything. “I have a friend in New York City who is close with the Everyday People squad and they had expressed interest in wanting to expand to South Africa. She recommended partnering with Kool Out so we setup a meeting while I was in New York and came up with a plan to launch in the Spring and do an all-out bash in December. We assisted Nescafé with their International Coffee Day initiative last year so they hit us up again for this year. We presented Everyday People to them and they loved the concept and decided to make it part of this year’s initiative.”

What’s distinct about Everyday People is that it’s an all-black party which takes place during the day. The monthly parties started out in New York City and then branched out to other cities such as Miami and Los Angeles- as much as all their shows make one feel like they’re on the African continent, this will be its first time on the motherland.  “We’re really trying to emphasise the daytime element and hope it works out that way. At the same time, you know how South Africans love to show up late. It’s the first time we’re doing it here so we’ll see how it goes and make adjustments for the next ones,” says Akio.

The Everyday People event in December event will be an alternative for those who’ve grown a sense of dissatisfaction with Afro Punk, which will be in the country for the second time this year. Next week’s shows in Cape Town and Joburg will be launches, hence the line-ups only have Disk Jocks.

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