When you hear the word DJ, one’s thoughts are drawn to music. But not many look at deejaying as serious business or a career worth pursuing.
About three decades ago, Phillip Kalindawalo was just an ordinary high school leaver full of life and an avid lover of music. Never did it cross his mind that he would become DJ.
But his love for break-dancing and music slowly won his heart to be one of the best DJs of his time.
“Around 1984, I used to do break dance while I was a student at Mount Pleasant High School in Zimbabwe. I used to keep a lot of break dance music which I could play for my friends at entertainment events within the school.
“I could also share some of the people the music I kept after receiving from my friends. Slowly, they started inviting me to be ‘officially’ playing music and I realised I could play music and make people enjoy it. I started collecting the latest hot music and that was the beginning of everything,” Kalindawalo told Chill.
Upon completing his O-level in 1986, he evolved into a fully-fledged DJ playing at different events in Zimbabwe where he grew up.
“We were using cassettes then and played in night clubs and schools. I admired my mentor Peter Johns who was known as Radio Driver on Radio 3 FM. People such as the late Eddie Manda, Otis Frazer, Kudzie Maruza, Tonderai Ndoro and George Munetsi also inspired me. DJs like Mike T and Hossea ‘Hitman’ Singende taught me how to keep people busy in nightclubs,” he recalled.
From Zimbabwe, Kalindawalo trekked to Malawi where he also launched his deejaying career.
“A DJ who does radio and nightclubs has greater potential in entertainment. He knows what people like. In Malawi I was resident DJ at Taj Mahal, later Motel Paradise then jammed in clubs such as Road House, Grand and Grill, Chez Ntemba Lilongwe and Blantyre, and oh!!
“In the early 1990s, we had Massive Club and the Drive Inn at Moneymen. Great people such as the late Davis Mafuleka and my brother in-law Brian Mungomo kept people in Blantyre busy. And there was Shelter Club just at Kwacha,” explained Kalindawalo.
While doing the club circuits, Kalindawalo found himself at MBC Radio 2 and that was the beginning of him being on radio.
“That was a different environment altogether, but I enjoyed each passing moment. I had memorable shows that people can remember me with such as Good Company, My Personality Show and the Midnight to Dawn shift where I loved the phone-in programme at 2am. Oh! That was super,” he recalled.
He has also worked with other radio stations including MIJ and Galaxy FM and had a stint in Botswana where he used to play at New Yorker.
The highlight of his career, which spans 29 years, was in 1999.
“I came number three on Entertainer of Entertainers in the category of radio presenters and I was number 1 DJ after a DJ competition which involved so many DJs from radio and nightclubs.
“Then I won Entertainer of Entertainers three years in a row. Remember, I was on radio once a week and at night, that is great and nobody has beaten that. Then I was the DJ who played just before Professor’s performances at Chez in Blantyre and Lilongwe and that was his first ever show in Malawi,” he said.
He is popularly known as Phylltouch, a name derived from the pleasure he gives people through his mixing of music.
Up until today, he is still deejaying in clubs and events on part time basis.
“The name comes from feel touch, where I make sure that I keep my audience busy, they feel my experience on the decks and turntables, you know. In fact, I believe, I have the greatest touch when it comes to entertaining people,” he boasted.
The third born son to Gerald Mpesi, Kalindawalo was raised by his stepfather, Alex Kalindawalo.
He hails from Misuli Vilage in Chief Chikumbu’s area in Mulanje.
He is a proud father of son, Donell, who is graciously following in his footsteps.
Currently working as a sales and distribution officer at Chibuku Products Limited in Blantyre, Kalindawalo is happy with his contribution to the Malawi DJ terrain.
“There are Malawian DJs that perhaps went through these hands. Trust me, they are many, most of them are on Radio 2FM, MIJ FM, Galaxy and Ufulu Radio and some in nightclubs,” he said.
Moving forward, his parting words are: “Keep your eyes open and if you snooze you will lose. I am coming back, this time with a big bang.”