DJ Shimza wants to inspire others to give back with his One Man Show and hopes the initiative goes global. Picture: Supplied
“It should never be just about you. I feel if we have the platform to make a difference in our communities and in other people’s lives we should try and do that,” says Ashley Raphala, aka DJ Shimza, about why he started his annual Christmas One Man Show whereby he raises funds to feed and buy school uniforms for hundreds of needy children.

“Whether we like it or not, malapa halekane (we are not equal), there are people that struggle out there. We should all try, if it’s not giving back with food, our time or something inspirational that they can take home. We can do something. I think that’s the least we can all do.”

This year DJ Shimza is targeting 800 kids, double the number he had the previous year. “Last year we had about 400 kids from different homes in Tembisa, and this year I want to push it to 800 or 1000. But the goal is to host as many kids during the day as the people that come through at night.

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“If I’m going to have 10 000 people at night, I should have 10 000 kids during the day that we feed and give school uniforms to for the next year. So it’s all about growth - the more tickets I sell, the more I can give back.”

DJ Shimza, who has been hosting the event for eight years, says he tries to grow the event every year, but this year his focus is on making people more aware of the charity aspect.

“I feel like it’s important for people to know that when they come to this event, it’s not just for a party. I’m sure a lot of people come to the event but they don’t know what actually happens. Maybe they see it in January when we do the school uniforms handover to the kids that we bought with the money we’ve raised.

“Even the production I try and make sure that the event is different in terms of the look and the feel. I don’t want people to feel like they are coming to the same thing over and over. The line-up is quite big as well, so it’s going to be a big party.”

DJ Shimza normally invites orphanages from Tembisa. “This time I would like people to submit names of the homes and send people our way, because the more people we have, the better, and the merrier their Christmas would be.”

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He is also excited about his partnership with the City of Ekurhuleni. “It’s quite amazing that the city has shown an interest in the initiative. It costs us a lot to put these things together and, with the help that I’m getting from the city, it means I can give more to the children in January. So I can buy more school uniforms in January, and more food in December."

His vision is to expand the show and cater for the rest of the country, and possibly the world in the near future. 

“In terms of the brand One Man Show, I think it’s going to turn into a global brand where I can have a one-man show in Zimbabwe, in Croatia and in Ibiza, but in terms of the charity aspect of it I always want to use that platform to inspire people to do the same wherever they can.”