An enigmatic personality with a tendency of making bold and daring statements with his hair, fashion and speech, Sidney ‘DJ Sid’ Baitsile has established himself as a force to reckon with in the arts, culture and entertainment industry, both locally and internationally.
Now about to celebrate his 50th birthday, DJ Sid welcomed Lifestyle into his world and took us on a nostalgic journey to back in the day, explaining the magic, triumphs and tribulations that he has gone through until his Golden Jubilee. DJ Sid’s love affair with music dates back to the 1970s, when he was a young boy who oscillated between Tewane and Radisele villages with his grandparents and sister. He started playing music from his first ever equipment, bought for him by his father and his family was his audience.
“My father was my very first musical influence. He used to collect vinyl records and he taught me to love music. Interestingly, I have forgotten a lot of things from back then but I still vividly remember the music,” said DJ Sid.
As DJ Sid grew, so did his passion for music. At high school he was head of the entertainment committee, playing music for students of St Joseph’s College every Saturday evening. He also used to organise professional DJs to stage a show for St Joseph’s students at the end of every term. DJ Sid later went to study physiotherapy at the University of Washington DC. However, his career choice did not dampen his love for music as he combined his studies with deejaying and learning and appreciating different musical genres from the more colourful and multiracial American culture. Upon graduation, DJ Sid was instructed to report to the National Health Institute (NHI), where he was to pioneer a new Department of Medical Sociology. A few days before taking up his new post, DJ Sid came across an advert inviting aspiring radio presenters for auditions for the newly established RB2. He went for the auditions, excelled and was immediately hired as the first ever host for the breakfast show.
During his five year stint at RB2, DJ Sid and his colleagues masterminded the evolution of radio in Botswana. DJ Sid later moved to private radio station Gabz FM for a while before taking up a job in the print media as a music columnist. His column in The Voice Newspaper, ‘DJ Sid’s Big Weekend’ was an instant hit.
“We played a great part in the development of the music industry for close to 10 years through our coverage of artists, radio, music and events. During my stint as a columnist at The Voice I heightened my advocacy for Botswana music. I had all along been advocating for the industry, but The Voice gave me a platform and a voice to hype my campaign,” said DJ Sid.
After radio and print, DJ Sid expanded his horizons and took his talents to television where he was a judge on local talent search show ‘My Star.’ He earned himself a lot of fans in ‘My Star’ and was often compared to Randal of South African Idols and Simon Corwell of American Idols due to his brutal honesty when reviewing contestants. He left the show three years ago, and to date he is still fending off requests for him to come back.
“Put money on the table,” that’s his casual response to ‘My Star’ producer Master Dee. The highlight of DJ Sid’s illustrious career in the music industry came last year when he was honoured with a Yarona FM Music Award Hall of Fame Award for his immense contribution to the growth of arts and culture in Botswana. With a mischievous grin, DJ Sid also throws in the fact that he stood for political office in 2014 and only got a paltry 35 votes in his favour. DJ Sid now resides in his home village of Tsabong, where he works in the family business. Because of his undying love for music and the arts, he intends to work with the necessary stakeholders to open an entertainment park that will promote entertainment tourism in the area.
What does he do for relaxation? “I flirt, flirt and flirt all the time. That’s what men do isn’t it? I’m a social media addict; its lots of fun and it allows me to release, have fun and relax.”
What are the perks of being a celebrity in the arts and culture industry? “I am told women throw themselves at guys who are in the music industry. I am yet to experience this.”
Is DJ Sid romantically involved? “I am searching for that soul mate who will make my heart skip a beat. For the first time in well over a decade, I am now seriously searching for a soul mate. There’s one special woman that I have liked for over four years, but our paths seem to be running parallel. We are good friends, but she does not want to hear any of that lovey-dovey stuff from me. I would marry her in a heartbeat!”
This is quite a mouthful from DJ Sid, an arts and culture icon who still believes he has a lot to offer over the next 50 years.
“I live the best of both of lives. The memories and experiences of the last 50 years are both sweet and sour. But they have enriched my life and I am enjoying life now more than ever before. I have not achieved all I have wanted, but I sure have come close. The motivation to complete the mission in the next 50 years is even stronger and I will do that in Tsabong,” says DJ Sid.
Fast Facts About DJ SID
Middle name: Baitsile
Favourite food: I eat whatever is available and healthy
Favourite city in the world: None
What does Sid love most about people: Hard to point to one thing. Varies from person to person(it took me 5 minutes to think about this hahaha)
What Sidney dislikes most about other people: Resistance to CHANGE
If you were to save three items in a burning house what would they be? My Cat, my entire music collection and my phone.