by Ogbeche Ohotuowo
In celebration of Children’s Day 2020, we recognise the many children who are creating waves in different sectors, particularly in the entertainment industry. These child stars show that good things also come in small packages, and that everyone should have a seat at the table of opportunities.
In South Africa, Oratilwe AJ Hlongwane, better known as DJ Arch Jnr, is the youngest DJ in Africa and winner of the South Africa’s Got Talent show in 2015.
DJ Arch Jnr’s path in music started as far back as when he was two-year-old, playing with his father’s disc jockeying apps on an iPad. Soon after, he began practicing on actual DJ equipment, and his father shared clips of him learning and honing the craft.
At the age of 3, he entered the South Africa’s Got Talent show in 2015 and emerged as the winner of the R500,000 first prize, along with Celltone products worth R35,000.
In 2017, when he turned 5, DJ Arch became the youngest club DJ in the world. The same year, he earned the Guinness World Record title. He didn’t stop here but the very next year, at age 6, he proceeded to compete in the champions edition of America’s Got Talent. His skills and charisma highly impressed the judges, including Simon Cowell, and the audience of thousands of people in the Pasadena Auditorium, California. During the performance, he played It Takes Two, the 1988 hit song of Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock and Montell Jordan’s classic, This is How We Do It.
After performing for the American judges, he received a standing ovation from the panel and was showered with accolades as well. Heidi Klum called him “the coolest 6-year-old I have ever met in my life” and Simon Cowell stated: “I think you are a total, total little star, I absolutely love you.”
DJ Arch Jnr Has been featured on many platforms including CNN. With increasing popularity, his YouTube channel has about 528,000 subscribers.
Ghana also has its child-star DJ in Erica Armah Bra-Bulu Tandoh, who is known as DJ Switch. The young lad broke into the art of disc jockeying in a village bar where the DJ showed her how to use a laptop. Very soon, she discovered a lot of things on her own and she began showing him things he didn’t know. According to her, she chose DJ ‘Switch’ because she switches people’s moods: “When you’re sad I’ll make you happy, when you’re happy and you want to be more excited, I’ll make you excited.”
DJ Switch is the youngest person to win Ghana’s annual DJ award and has also performed before world leaders at the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation Goalkeepers event in 2018.
Slightly unlike DJ Arch Jnr, whose father believes will continue on the path of music, DJ Switch loves school and wishes to combine being a gynaecologist with her career as a DJ. She chose gynaecology because “women got to support women.” According to her, “I want to help women deliver and I want to make deliverance so easy.’
In Nigeria, 12-year-old DJ Young Money, is the youngest DJ in the country, having won the Young African Entertainer award in 2018.
These child stars have the opportunity to excel far beyond their peers and even seniors in entertainment today because of the nurturing their parents gave them, in addition to their innate talents. This International Children’s day 2020 and beyond, learn to give your children – the ones you have now and the ones you plan to have – the right amount of support in fulfilling their dreams.