Albertina Hamukweya is a DJ, music producer, entrepreneur and co-creator of a groundbreaking DJ group called Afroberries, that gives much-needed support to aspiring female DJ’s.
Albertina knows all too well the struggle of trying to break into DJing, when she started in the industry in 2012, female DJs in Namibia were unheard of. Standing at only 1.5 meters tall, she couldn’t tell whether people who saw her perform were more shocked by her diminutive frame or by the fact that a woman was capable of mixing music.
Albertina battled and then gradually overcame stage fright. She says growing up as a shy and reserved little girl she had difficulty expressing herself; so she felt that music was a great avenue for her to communicate how she was feeling, and it became a way for her to get out of her shell.
Throughout her career, she has changed people’s perceptions around female DJ’s. She says that people tend to think of female DJ’s as “a skirt on the decks, with no skill” before they even start their set and have the chance to prove themselves. Albertina says she tried not to rely on the fact that she is female to get gigs, instead she works on her craft just as much as her male counterparts.
She started Afroberries to help other female DJ’s navigate some of the challenges she had faced earlier in her career. Over the years, she has witnessed many females attempt to establish themselves as DJ’s, but they give up before they even start to take off. She emphasises the need for hard work and a tough skin.
Albertina advises young people to pursue an education. She is studying towards a business degree to broaden her knowledge of business, because a concrete understanding of the business of entertainment will help her significantly in the future. She says she couldn’t have lived exclusively off DJing four years ago.
What changed is that she started looking at her brand as a business, and this is something she wants to teach anyone wanting to DJ. Albertina also runs her own handmade jewellery business, which celebrates the African continent. She looks up to industry heavyweights like DJ Black Coffee, DJ LeSoulSA and DJ Zinhle for their DJing and entrepreneurial skills. Albertina’s vision is to change the way people view DJing, which is often seen as only about attending parties and being popular. She is helping people realise that it is really is about the music, more than anything else.
In the next five years, Albertina would like to play a pivotal role in helping young people to discover the power they have to bring about and find solutions for some of Africa’s most challenging issues. She believes that the entertainment industry is one of the most powerful in the world. She points out that most artists from the continent are forced to find 9 – 5 jobs to fund their dream, left with little time to create art. She would like to empower artists in the region to make a living from their art.
She was inspired to enter the TYI Top 100 to encourage women who are presently discouraged from following their dream because it is deemed not feminine enough. Having made waves in a male dominated industry for over seven years, she knows that it’s not easy and that at times you feel like giving up, but that as long as you keep going, you never know who you will inspire.