Saturday, March 6, 2021

The Honourable Councillor DJ Zeeman

Should DJ Zeeman win in the 2014 general election, one of his main aims as Flowertown councillor would be “to transform Mahalapye into an event centre.” He would be waging that campaign as Honourable Tumelo Koolekanye.

Judging by what one of his comrades said about Andry Rajoelina, some in the Botswana Democratic Party don’t approve of mixing politics with deejaying but DJ Zeeman has no plans of vacating the DJ box any time soon.

“Deejaying is part of my life. It is a deep passion of mine that will never go away. I will continue to entertain and make people happy,” says DJ Zeeman, hastening to add that he has gigs lined up for the festive season, some in the neighbouring villages of Radisele and Makwate.

To an extent, his passions might make it a little difficult for Foreign Affairs minister, Phandu Skelemani to point an accusatory finger at Madagascar’s DJ-politicians because three would be diagonally pointing back at the BDP’s own.

The contours of DJ Zeeman’s future took shape during his secondary school days. As a member of the debate team, he developed an interest in politics and for some reason, was always on the moving side – never on the opposing side. Naturally when he got into politics proper, he didn’t join the opposition. His other extracurricular activity was membership of the entertainment committee through which he was introduced to spinning discs.

From the account he renders, his political career gained traction at the Mahalapye main kgotla where he actively participated in meetings. He would go there well-prepared, peppering speakers – some ministers – with questions about their development agenda for the village.

“Over time, some people felt that I could represent them and I was co-opted into the Mahalapye Umbrella Village Development Committee,” DJ Zeeman says.

Earlier this year, he threw his hat in the Bulela ditswe ring and would trounce his opponents in the primary elections that were held last month. He polled 414 votes, 248 more than his runner-up, a nominated councillor. By DJ Zeeman’s account, his campaign team was made up of 45 young people and 25 adults, “some old women who get around with walking sticks.”

DJ Zeeman is even busier outside the DJ box, kgotla and BDP structures. Until he resigned to campaign for political office, he was an elected member of the Botswana National Youth Council’s Administration Committee. His relationship with the Council brought him into the orbit of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation which sponsored workshops at which the youth were urged to take an active interest in politics. He has worked at the Young Women Friendly Centre in Mahalapye which provides health services and for the past eight years, has been a Setswana teacher and logistician with the United States Peace Corps programme. DJ Zeeman is also an RB2 correspondent who gives weekly updates about shows taking place north of Dibete. He is also a music promoter who alongside Easy B, founded the “Monate Fela” music show concept.

There have been instances, DJ Zeeman says, when he has led delegations of DJs to lobby councillors at the Mahalapye Sub-district Council about the need to extend trading hours of establishments that sell liquor. This is where people like him ply their trade. He hopes that getting into political office would advance this cause and is confident that in the end “we will win this battle.”

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