Some people thought he was absolutely crazy – how could a blind person manage the decks, choose the tracks and mix the sounds? Impossible. But Eezo wanted to challenge himself and realise his dream.
Johannesburg, South Africa (18 June 2020) – On March 13, 1996, Raeez Kuhn was born. This should have marked the beginning of a happy life for this Sophiatown resident. But at the age of only 2, a double tragedy struck. Raeez’ father died in a tragic accident, and Raeez lost what little eyesight he still possessed. An operation was recommended, but unfortunately, his family didn’t have the money to pay for the procedure, leaving him completely blind.
And so, began a life of struggle for the little boy. He spent time as a boarder in the School for the Blind in Durban. That’s where he learned to use computers and to read and write, using a touch system called Braille. These skills opened up the world for him. They allowed him to pursue his passion for music which developed when an uncle used to play the radio in the car.
From the age of 10, he began to dream of a career as a DJ. He decided to call himself Eezo the Blind DJ. Some people thought he was absolutely crazy – how could a blind person manage the decks, choose the tracks and mix the sounds? Impossible. But Eezo wanted to challenge himself and realise his dream. After years of practising, when he was just 12-years-old, he taught himself how to mix. Once he mastered mixing, he began using a software called Virtual DJ. Just a few years later he was already playing four decks live on CDJs (a digital music player that facilitates manipulations and sound effects), and he began getting gigs.
Despite his amazing achievements, some people made fun of him, ridiculed him and even taunted him. At one event where he was DJ-ing, they put a blindfold around his head and tried to sabotage him by putting stuff on the decks he was using. They seemed to doubt he was actually blind. But that only motivated Eezo, to create a successful future for himself as a professional DJ in competition with sighted artists.
“I had to learn to speak up for myself at a very young age,” he says. “It’s been a very tough journey at times.”
Nonetheless, Eezo has thousands of followers on Facebook and is able to access social media using an app called TalkBack, which converts what is on the screen of his android phone, into the spoken word. This enthusiastic, charismatic young DJ, who has a ready smile and an excellent way with words, is rearing to go, but unfortunately, he is stuck in a catch 22 situation. Promoters are willing to give him gigs, but he doesn’t have any equipment; and if he doesn’t have any equipment, he can’t earn the money he needs to buy the gear so that he can get the gigs.
He is certain that this is just another obstacle that he will overcome, one way or another. Because if there is one lesson that Eezo wants others to know it’s this; no matter what life throws at you, you can succeed if you have the right attitude and are determined and prepared to make an effort.
“It’s about where you put your focus. I believe anything is possible,” he concludes.