In the 1980’s he was what in today’s terms we would call a superstar DJ and this was long before the advent of the internet, YouTube and all of the other media hype that is used to promote the careers of those in entertainment.
He is still very much in high demand and he is still consistently entertaining crowds. He may be from the old school but he is not to be considered an old school DJ. He remains relevant and still has a passion for introducing crowds to new music.

His public profile and his personal life has seen its ups and downs over the years but he has overcome much including struggling with a drug addiction. Yet through it all he remained consistent as a top notch entertainer.
At an age when many DJ’s would have long ago retired, he seems ready to take his career to levels that will bring a new twist to the world of dance music entertainment as much as he did 30 years ago at the famous Le Club.

We were fortunate enough to spend some time hanging out with one of Cape Town and SA’s icons of club culture. In an interview in which he showed a sincere openness and a sometimes brutally frank honesty in discussing his glorious career as well as his often turbulent personal life, we not only got to learn more about DJ Superfly the entertainer but with this article we hope to also introduce you to Rayyaan Coetzee, the man who is the legend.

In our interaction with DJ’s, many of them at the pinnacles of their careers, others still starting out, the question of whom or what inspired them to become a DJ usually comes up.
They mostly say that it was another DJ who they observed as they grew up or it could be that inspiration hit them the first time they saw a DJ in action at a club.
It is also highly likely that they were inspired by one or other famous DJ who they have only ever seen in a video, whose mixes they regularly heard on their local radio station or via internet downloads. Then there are the many DJ’s who were young teens in the late 1980’s who say it was DJ Superfly.

Of course we at could not expect that sort of standard answer when talking to a DJ who started out when there were extremely few famous DJ’s not just in SA but around the world. The club scene as we know it today was still in its infancy and could not have produced any legends yet. Those DJ’s of that era became the first legends in their craft.

Superfly is one of the very few DJ’s from that long gone era who is still relevant in the entertainment industry and still draws a large following today. He started out at a time when you could literally without realising it become a DJ by default simply because you were always the one willing to be operating the sound system at a gathering. There were very few other DJ’s to inspire you or show you the ropes.

It was also a time when those playing records at Discotheque Restaurants, as most nightclubs were known at the time, and also at social events, were called operators or selectors.
The main attractions at the time were the live bands while the ‘operator’ was just there to provide continuity in the music between the live sets of the bands.

Born to Entertain
Rayyaan Coetzee also called Rushaan but best known as Superfly was born into a family of entertainers with his father being the brother to the legendary jazz musician Basil ‘Manenberg’ Coetzee and his mother being the sister to the live entertainment industry pioneer Al Hendricks. At their matriarchal family home in Williams Street Woodstock, the very young Rayyaan was constantly surrounded by great musicians and entertainers like Taliep Petersen, Richard Jon Smith and Zayne Adams, lead singer of band Pacific Express. The Express served as the ‘jazz school’ for many now famous artists like Jonathan Butler, Robbie Jansen and a still very young Vicky Sampson who in later years sang the anthem-like hit ‘My African Dream’.

As a boy Rayyaan would attend many Pacific Express shows and by default sometimes became the ‘operator’ playing records in between their sets. At the age of ten Rayyaan and a friend Vincent started getting paid to provide music for social functions at the St Mary’s Church Hall in Woodstock.

It was the height of the disco era in the 1970’s when as a young teen he was already a natural at selecting playlists and with his friend Chacha, he would frequent record stores like Taj in Athlone on the Cape Flats buying LP’s and cassettes.
It was also the time when the Stardust Club came into existence in Woodstock. This later became the Casablanca Night Club with the owner/manager Cazz being well-connected with Rayyaan’s entertainment industry relatives.

It was in this era that the DJ also started being an attraction at venues and bands started getting less and less stage time with DJ Barney being the first resident DJ at Casablanca or the ‘Cass’ as it was known. It didn’t take long for the then 14 year old Rayyaan to also be playing sessions at the ‘Cass’ under DJ Barney’s wings.
Now having regular access to real DJ equipment, albeit belt-drive turntables with rotary knob mixers, he soon started to become a fully-fledged DJ but it was really still just him living up to his passion for entertaining people with his love of music.

DJ Superfly at Le Club - 1986

Of course there were other night clubs also beginning to attract growing numbers of patrons who no longer came for the bands but to dance to the beats of the DJ.
One such club was Route 66 in Mitchells Plain and this was where in 1982 for the first time Superfly was officially hired as a nightclub resident DJ and stepping outside of the comfort zone and familiarity of the Casablanca. From there he moved to the now defunct but once iconic Space Odyssey in Salt River among others and in 1986 it came to what for him at the time would seem to be full circle when he found himself back at Casablanca or the ‘Cass’ as it was informally known.
When the ‘Cass’ was rebranded as Le Club, DJ Superfly became the main attraction. Though he wasn’t the first to hype up local crowds, by most accounts, he was the first club DJ to take spinning records and hyping up a crowd to a bona fide form of entertainment.
The era of the superstar DJ was born and DJ Superfly was Cape Town clubbing’s first-born son.

He derived the name Superfly not only from the Curtis Mayfield album titled Super Fly, but also as much from the concept of the US slang phrase “You’re fly” which meant you were great but when you were told that “You’re super fly” you were way beyond great.

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