Self-made rapper, hometown ambassador, official Bettr ambassador, co-writer and performer of #WeDeserveBettr alongside Costa Titch, Dee Koala, is a name to watch and learn from 🔥
She sits down with Marvelous Tshiunza to talk about the importance of representing her Khayelitsha roots, and the role of self-belief in preparing herself for the opportunities that would come her way.
She's funny, she's inspiring, and she’s motivated to keep climbing – not just for herself, but for those around her too. Here we find out what fuels her desire to keep investing in herself and her community, and what’s behind the name ‘Dee Koala’👇
M: What's happening? I’m with the youngest game-changer...with Dee Koala.
M: It's a blessing to sit across from you and learn from you, man So let's jump straight into it. Who is Dee Koala?
D: My name is Odwa Situma. The name ‘Dee Koala’: Dee came from a friend and Koala is like...a spiritual animal. You know – like a koala can sleep on a tree! 🐨
M: Yeah... 👀
D: For me that's like me saying that – not that I'm comfortable in the game – but that I have the time to take a nap, you know?
M: Ouuu, she says she ain’t worried.
D: So Dee Koala is from Khayelitsha – born and raised there. Started recording in 2016 and, man, that’s been Dee Koala since 2016.
M: 2016! Did you always know that this is where you want to go?
D: No. I was panicking in Grade 12 and I was like, ‘I don't know what am I gonna do when I leave here.’ I did a 9-to-5, got fired. And then a lot changed. Riky Rick called me to Major League Gardens. Yang Chief wanted me to be on the remix of Utatakho. Those calls happened, like, immediately after I got fired. And for me that was the time that I clicked that this is what I need to do now.
M: Growing up in Khayelitsha, making music in Khayelitsha. How are you taking it?
D: Uhm, I think I'm doing a good job in making my hood proud. They are always out here like: “Yo’ I saw you on TV, and I was watching you and I'm-proud-of-you typa thing. You’re representing the hood exactly how it is and you’re not sugar coating it. You’re not changing it. You’re not capping…”
So I think I'm very proud of being from there and making them proud of me – especially the kids.
M: Man. 😍 When you received the brief when they asked you: “Yo, [Bettr] wants you to be a part of introducing one of the biggest campaigns and one of the biggest groundbreaking concepts…”
M: What did you think about the brand?
D: I was like: ‘What bank wants to do a song?’ When you watch a bank advert you don't hear this, you don't hear hip-hop. You don't hear something vernac. You don't hear something catchy. You don't hear something that’s relatable. You only hear whoever's talking – a voiceover.
So I feel like it's a very different, catchy, believable kind of statement. And I think it's really, really beneficial for the youth because I think we’re one of the people who find it hard to handle money, but actually with Bettr you can figure things out on your phone. You can budget wisely and tell yourself, “I'm gonna spend money on this and this and that, and I'm not going to overspend.” And you can also use your phone to tap when you pay for something.
The youth doesn't want to be visiting banks the whole time to find out about something. That is big quality for the youth and upcoming people of today.
M: Wow! Okay, that's it, guys. Let's call it a day. Tweet that. Thank you so much.
D: Shoutout man.
M: That’s what’s up. That’s what’s up. 🤑
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