Sbusiso Leope (aka DJ Sbu)

“Focus on what matters” is Sbusiso Leope’s mantra. The popular radio personality, known by his musical alias DJ Sbu, seems to be doing just that. In between hosting his weekly radio slot, Sound Revival, on Metro FM, and the SABC 1 game show Friends Like These, the recording artist turned entrepreneur visits three schools a week to share his inspirational life story with young learners. In addition, he personally mentors 16 children, two of whom graduated from the University of Johannesburg in 2012, and his eponymous education foundation has given away 147 bursaries to date. Leope has come a long way. Named by Forbes as one of 13 young celebrities to watch in 2013, he “grew up all over Johannesburg, in places such as Daveyton and Soweto”, but considers Tembisa the place where his roots are. He matriculated from Central Secondary School in Pretoria before studying sound engineering at Africa Media University as well as electrical engineering at Technikon Witwatersrand. His broadcasting career, which would later catapult him to mega stardom, began in 1998 when he started volunteering for a community radio station in Tembisa. It would be another 18 months before his talent would be recognised. “What opened doors was when I entered a talent search competition at Yfm and came second,” he says. “That was my big break.” Since then, DJ Sbu has become one of the most recognisable names on radio and faces in the media. A successful recording artist in his own right, with six studio albums, he has also been instrumental in unearthing new musical talent, including the chart-topping Afro-pop sensation, Zahara, who has signed with TS Records, the record label Leope started with TK Nciza. Music may be his first love, but business and philanthropy look set to become his passion. — Bongani Kona