South African actor and Botswana DJ collaborate

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

A collaboration between an established South African actor and Botswana's finest DJ and house-music enthusiast has resulted in an album called House Admin.

Very popular at clubs and on community radio, the album by DJ Colastraw and Njandini became a reality after the men were introduced to each other by music producer Matome Monyela.

Colastraw is one of Botswana's finest DJs and Njandini's is known to local audiences from the TV soapie Backstage.

Colastraw is currently a resident DJ at The Palace in Yeoville, Johannesburg, while Njandini works in several local clubs. Last weekend, he thrilled the audience in Escourt, KwaZulu-Natal, with his popular house music.

Colastraw first heard Njandini's music when he was working for RB2 (Radio Botswana). Njandini's manager, Matome, had played his debut album and Colastraw says he thought it was wonderful.

"The sound was different. It was talent appreciation at first sight," Colastraw says.

And when Colastraw later came to South Africa, Njandini fell in love with his material as well.

The two men decided to cut an album when Colastraw moved to South Africa early this year. For Colastraw, who had already produced two of Botswana's biggest house albums, Club Chisa 1 and 2, this was a way to bring variety to his sound and expand his talent.

Njandini loved the idea of fusing their different styles, "especially a style that I personally found captivating".

The overall idea was to combine the best sounds of South Africa and Botswana. And to keep the sound original, the men worked with up-and-coming producers, DJ Ice, DJ Vee, Beat Mechanix, Skit, MC and DJ Nico from Botswana. DJ Mavusana was also involved in the project.

Njandini, whose real name is Farah Tlhoaele, made his name in acting and appeared in a number of television, stage and film productions. Apart from Backstage, Njandini has also appeared in movies such as Hotel Rwanda, Ernest Goes to Africa and African Stories.

His television credits include Generations, Soul Buddyz, Zero Tolerance,Justice for All and a number of international commercials. When he entered the music industry, he decided to keep the name Njandini "because many people already know me by that name".

Njandini says he incorporated music in his career because he wanted to expand his horizons and "give myself a new challenge". That led to his 2005 debut album, Moribo Chapter 1.

"I got in touch with Tronix, Wada, DJ Menace, Teaspoon and Matome and the result was my debut album."

Born Bonno Ngake, DJ Colastraw started off as a club DJ at the young age of 16. He had a hard time getting into clubs because he was so young. But his talent and the fact that he was a performer and not a patron finally gave him free passage.

Colastraw presented a gig guide show, Diacha, on Botswana TV for three years. His perseverance paid off and he later worked as a mix deejay on RB2's Fifi show for two years. He has worked with a number of top deejays, including DJ Fresh.