A tod­dler disc jockey fas­ci­nates South African fans


At first it seems like a fluke — a 2-year-old play­ing with the knobs and but­tons of a so­phis­ti­cated mu­sic sys­tem. Yet, the tiny boy is in con­trol of the big beat of the bass-heavy house mu­sic. He is South Africa’s youngest disc jockey, DJ AJ.

At a shop­ping mall ap­pear­ance, a crowd gath­ers around the young boy as he bops his head to the beat, his large head­phones slip­ping off. Adults whip out their cell­phones to cap­ture the mo­ment while chil­dren just stare.

Oratilwe Hlong­wane is still learn­ing to put to­gether words but the tod­dler is al­ready able to se­lect and play mu­sic from a lap­top and has be­come a vi­ral phe­nom­e­non on South Africa’s so­cial me­dia.

His mother, Re­filoe Marumo, cred­its his fa­ther’s de­ci­sion to buy an iPad for his then un­born son. Glen Hlong­wane planned to down­load ed­u­ca­tional apps to speed up his child’s ed­u­ca­tion. Hlong­wane, a gym­nas­tics coach and as­pir­ing DJ, also down­loaded a disc jock­ey­ing app for him­self.

At about a year old, DJ AJ learned how to ma­nip­u­late the gad­get. Not sat­is­fied with num­ber recog­ni­tion games, he be­gan to fid­dle with his fa­ther’s DJ app.

The par­ents were blown away when their son, still in di­a­pers, re­peated what he had learned on the app on ac­tual DJ equip­ment, play­ing with sound ef­fects and bounc­ing be­tween songs. A cell­phone video of him play­ing went vi­ral and now DJ AJ has nearly 25,000 Face­book fans.

His new­found fame has brought spe­cial ap­pear­ances and spon­sor­ship deals many older DJs dream of.

But celebrity has also brought some crit­i­cism as some ac­cused his par­ents of abuse and prof­it­ing from their child’s pre­co­cious abil­ity.

“I’m not go­ing to ex­ploit my kid,” said his fa­ther. DJ AJ’s par­ents will not al­low him to play in clubs or at par­ties.

Hlong­wane and Marumo are adamant that they will not force their son to be a DJ when he grows up, but say they be­lieve his affin­ity for elec­tronic equip­ment will prob­a­bly de­cide his fu­ture.

Hlong­wane said: “I can see a fu­ture Bill Gates here.”


In this April 6 photo, two-year-old Oratilwe Hlong­wane, also known as DJ AJ to his fans, plays with the but­tons and knobs of a so­phis­ti­cated mu­sic sys­tem in con­trol of the beat of the bass-heavy house mu­sic at his Alexan­dra home in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa.

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