Before You're a DJ, You're a Woman': Navigating Gendered Space, Society and Music as a Female DJ In Johannesburg'
Utilizing an ethnographic study of female DJs working in Gauteng, this work examines women's negotiation of gendered space, technology and society in South Africa's house and hip-hop DJing scene. Exploring the contemporary musical landscape of South Africa, I scrutinize the changing roles for women in South African music, while interrogating the reasons behind women's increasing visibility and success as DJs. This work draws throughout on Henrik Vigh's analytical optic of dubriagem developed through his work in Guinea-Bissau, and identifies 'hustling' as a vernacular form of social as well as financial navigation, driving the women in the study to constantly renegotiate their societal position in respect of their careers. For female DJs, 'hustling' encompasses a wide remit, within which falls the need to negotiate racialized social perceptions of women, expectations of motherhood, access to technology and spaces, and personal safety - especially the ever present risk of violent sexual crime. Using 'hustling' as an analytical optic, the work examines how these women navigate and negotiate their careers, positing that their increasing success and visibility is already breaking down some of the barriers to success in South African society, paving the way for the generation of female DJs to come.