DJ Karol; real names Carol Kisukye, is a floor-filling corporate female disc jockey (DJ) in Uganda. She is a crowd puller in a male dominated industry.
Kampala, Uganda |Agnes E Nantaba| Being tomboyish possibly helps. It is a personality defined by her background as the last born and only girl amongst three boys. She says her only choice was to follow in the footprints of male siblings who loved music and sports.
“My brothers also had a passion for music so they had all the cassettes and while they went out to play, I would find time to rewind and write the lyrics,” says Karol.
“I had a scrap book with all the lyrics of songs and a Walkman to play and rewind songs,” she adds.
Karol is also a basketball player from her student days at Kabojja School and Team manager of A1 Challenge Ladies basketball club, and a digital expert who manages social media accounts for businesses and brands under her company M-idea.
Her parents, Christine Rwakanuma, a State House employee and John Kisukye encouraged their children to take up many talents and holidays were not just for watching TV but awakening other talents. Indeed DJ Karol was an all-rounder in sports; playing tennis, badminton, basketball, and swimming.
From Aga Khan primary school where she pursued primary education to Kabojja School where she did ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels, she was active in sports and won numerous trophies and championships. During her fourth year at Kabojja, Karol was among the 15 students chosen to go watch the soccer World Cup on an all- expenses-paid trip to Germany in 2006.
She had joined A1 Challenge Ladies in 2003 and was inspired by a team from A1 Challenge Ladies basketball club that visited Kabojja School around the same time for a mentorship talk on how to stay focused in life through sports.
“They mentored us really well and besides the life skills session, we went to the actual playing, I was identified to join the team for continuity,” she says.
Even at Malaysia’s Limkokwing University where she pursued a bachelor’s degree in Business Information technology, Karol still pushed through with basketball. While there, she was appointed captain of the university basketball team and in her tenure, position number one was synonymous with the team. She, however, struck a perfect balance between school and sports and a first class degree.
Back home, Karol set out to be employed for only two years. Her plan was to use her savings to start a company of her own. In 2012, after working for MTN Uganda and Dash events, she started her company; M-Idea. She also renewed her links to A1 Challenge Ladies and rose to become assistant team captain, captain and currently team manager.
The latter comes with more managerial responsibilities; including keeping the legacy of empowering more young girls. It also means less active play on the pitch and focusing more to basketball than to other games. All the while music still rang a bell from the nearby Club Zone7.
“In the evenings after work or during lunch time, I would go the DJs to ask about the latest songs and to my surprise, they didn’t know most of them,” says Karol.
Soon, she made friends with the DJs who also offered free training lessons for spinning the disc and in four weeks, Karol was an expert. She started by spinning the disc every Friday but had her first official DJ job spinning for Friday night lights. Since then, companies made bookings including the Samsung twitter party, Women’s Day bash, and Miss Uganda launch. Today, Karol has at least two corporate events to DJ per month.