World-renowned DJ-producer Uncle Waffles is taking over the music scene by bringing the South African Amapiano to the forefront

Sanbonani Galore Readers! We are doing great, unjani? Chez Galore we loveeeee Amapiano, it’s the house / r&b fusion of South Africa and it is taking the world by storm. We are dying to introduce you to our new cover girl, the world-renowned DJ-producer Uncle Waffles. Lungelihle Zwane, formally known as ‘Uncle Waes’ is a lover of music, fashion and dance. Through the power of social media Uncle Waffles was able to reach millions of viewers who helped kick-start her career and her hope is to influence and share her love for music with the world.

Uncle Waffles is taking over the music scene by bringing the South African Amapiano genre to the forefront. Often referred to as the “Princess of Amapiano,” Uncle Waffles has been making her rounds with international tours/performances and most recently performed at Coachella and Cannes this year. In the past few months alone, she’s garnered major cosigns from top artists including Beyonce, Ciara, and more. Earlier this year, Uncle Waffles “Asylum” – an explosive seven-track project featuring one of the genre’s viral hits ‘Yahyuppiyah’. 

Here at Galore we had the pleasure of interviewing Uncle Waffles on numerous subjects; from the start of her DJ career, to getting the approval from Drake, to dancing, and beauty tips, we get into it all! Keep reading for the full feature interview!


So to kick things off, how’d you get your start DJ’ing? 

I worked at a job that had some decks. I was working as a TV presenter in my country and they had some decks there. I didn’t think it would be something I’d take seriously. I just wanted to understand. So one day, there was a DJ we had as a guest and he was like “oh, you wanna learn” and I was like “yes.” Then, it started out learning for just a month to being a year for just eight hours a day. Falling in love with something that I didn’t know I could be in love with, so yeah. 

And this was during the pandemic right? 


Uhhh and based on my research, I noticed that you kind of got your big start at Zone 6 nightclub back in Soweto, South Africa. Would you mind expounding on that part of your journey a little bit? 

Um, so my manager booked me for a show that was for one of the artists that they used to work with. Then, they were like “Oh, come and play and you can play at 6:30,” which is not a good time. But I played at 6:30. At 10:30, the DJ that was supposed to be playing didn’t come. Then, they were like “oh, we want you to continue playing” and that’s where the viral video came from. That spot that I was not supposed to have. I played for just 30 minutes. Nobody knew me at that point and I wanted to stand out, so I started dancing. And that’s kind of how that happened. We got a standard clip and that’s how that launched me. 

Wow! Talk about divine intervention and timing. I feel like that was like the start of the dominoes falling in your favor. 


Here we are a couple years later. That is so cool. So 2023 has been somewhat of a breakthrough year for you. I know earlier this year you dropped an EP: Asylum. I was just listening to that track: “Yahyuppiyah.” I kept hearing that in the club. I’m an avid Amapiano fan. I’m African-American and I’m from Brooklyn but out here, there are so many Amapiano parties springing up and Afrobeats parties in general. I just got hooked on it because it’s super infectious. Yeah but anyhow, I kept hearing that song in the club and I’m like “who is this” and come to find out, it’s you. But you’ve been booked and busy and in high demand. How does being newly famous feel for you? 

Um, I only truly feel famous when I’m not around my team. When I’m around my team and my people, I don’t feel like anything happened to me but when you go out and you’re selling out shows, then you’re like “how do you guys know me?” or “how’d you guys hear about me?” It feels very surreal. It’s something that you can’t really get used to. It’s like “oh you know me. Thanks.” That’s my response usually. 

That is super cool. I mean, you seem very humble about it, which is phenomenal. Another question I had was “what’s your favorite amapiano song at the moment? 

Um, would it be wrong to say my song is my favorite at the moment? 

No, not at all. We love a shameless plug over here. 

“Yah” is technically my favorite song. 

Ok. I mean, I’m not complaining about that selection. It’s a remarkable track if we’re being completely honest here. So I know you dropped Asylum earlier this year as I said. So I know you’re coming out with another project soon on August 11th entitled Solace. What would you say is the vision behind this new project? Because I know with Asylum, the distinguishing factor is that you incorporated hip hop elements, which was dope. So what would you say is the vision behind this? And what makes it different? 

Um, so Solace is supposed to represent the other half of the Asylum. So Asylum basically represented the journey that I’ve been through. The chaotic part of the journey. Going from someone who was doing free bookings just trying to get your name out there being booked overseas the next week. There was a lot of chaos happening. There was a lot of learning while things were happening. There were a lot of mistakes made. There were so many tears. So I wanted it to represent the journey with all the chaos in it. Solace is supposed to represent the happiness and peace and strength that I’m experiencing that has given me so much solace. Being able to play so many big shows. Just being able to be recognized. So this music is going to be more mellow. More heartfelt. More emotions in it compared to “Yahyuppiyah,” which is more for partying. This project is supposed to represent the beauty of the journey. 

Wow! That is amazing! So it’ll have more of a tranquil vibe. How many tracks are on the EP? 

I think it’s seven. 

And are there any cool collaborations that we should know about? 

I try my best to collaborate with new artists because I would have loved to be given that platform when I was still trying to get my name out there. I just try to work with younger/newer artists because they need someone with a platform like mine to help launch theirs. It’s purely new artists. A lot of artists that people haven’t heard yet. There are a lot of artists who are having their debuts through my EP. 

Wow! Well I commend you for that. That is totally selfless. 

Thank you! 

So for my next question, there was an announcement of “We Love Waffles,” which is your first international headlining show. It’ll be taking place at “The Great Hall” here in Brooklyn, New York on September 23rd, so how do you feel about ushering in this new chapter in your career? 

It’s kind of surreal to know that I’ve got here in only two years. It’s been almost two years now since everything has happened. So it feels very surreal to be talking about “ok, I’m doing so many great shows, how do I make this something where I can call mine. Entities where I control the entire production. Artists where I bring on. Getting things to look how it feels for people.” This is crazy. Getting venues who are offering saying “come on, yes use our venue. We want to work with you.” And having my show almost sold out in barely a week. I’m like damn, this is crazy. And New York really comes out. Brooklyn comes out.  I did two shows back to back last time I was there, so I thought that was the perfect place to have it. 

Wow! I actually saw the tickets for it. Now that I know it’s about to be sold out, I’ve gotta go ahead and get my ticket. I know it’s going to be an amazing show. And the venue is really nice too. Avant Gardner for sure. 

Everyone says it’s really iconic, so it’s going to be the perfect venue. 

Yes! I’m confident there will be a lot of dancing and positive energy. No stush, uptight vibes. You’ve gotta come ready to party. So for my next question, aside from being an international DJ, I recently realized that you enjoy dancing as well. I actually was fortunate enough to attend The Roots Picnic this year. And I saw you there and you were killing it on your set but then you got from around the DJ booth and then you started dancing and I was like “wow, she’s really killing it right now,” so would you ever be down to be featured in a music video featuring you and your dance skills at some point? 

Um, yes. I’m actually trying to get better, so I even take classes to make sure I get better, so anything that involves dancing, I’d definitely be willing to do it. Maybe if Beyoncé wants to take me out on a tour, that would be great! 

I mean, that would be dope! Apparently, Beyoncé highlighted you on her tour right? How was that feeling when you heard the news? 

I don’t know how to put words on it. It’s BEYONCÉ you know. It’s BEYONCÉ. I didn’t know how to feel about it at first. For a couple of days, I thought it was an edited video because everyone was posting a certain clip and then I was like “ok, maybe they just edited my song to the video.” And then they were like no, that’s really her. And then I said to myself, maybe she knows me. 

I’m guessing you haven’t met her yet. 

No, I haven’t met her yet. 

Ahh okay. Well I know that’s gonna be like a full circle moment for you. For my next question, what’s the best career advice you’ve received in your career so far and from whom? 

Hmm, the best advice. Ok, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Bucie. 

Hmm, her name does sound familiar. Does she have a song with Afro B. 

No, she has a song with Black Coffee. She’s an iconic, South African celebrity. She’s an iconic singer. I met her while we were in London. We did a show together and I remember she told me that I should just keep going. You know at that point, I was receiving the world of everything. Everything was coming at an extreme level. An extreme amount of love but of course an extreme amount of hate. I was at a place where I was trying my best to balance it and truly focus on what really matters, which is the love you receive because those are the people that come out for you. Those are the people that buy your music and listen to your music. She told me that I should just keep going, you know. No one will ever be able to stop what God has destined for me. No matter how it feels on certain days. No matter how heavy it feels, you know. And I shouldn’t be miserable through the journey. I should literally just focus on the people who love me and just keep going. There’s nothing you can say to me that will make me feel any sort of way about my journey, you know. 

Well shoutout to her. That’s very sage and uplifting advice. It makes no sense to dwell on pessimism and negativity. It doesn’t help you. 

Not at all! 

Um, so for my next question: “How did it feel when you gained a legitimate co-sign from Drake? Like how’d that even come into fruition? That’s actually pretty crazy too. 

So he followed me, I think two days after my video blew up. I didn’t see it. A friend of mine saw it actually, so she screenshotted it and she said to me “do you see that Drake just followed you”? I was like “this is definitely not true girl, like.” Then I went to go check and he followed me and he was like you’re doing amazing. This is great. So I was like, this is one of the biggest artists in the world. If not, the biggest artist in the world. Getting recognition from him made me feel like “what did I actually do to deserve everything that is happening to me?” To this day, everything feels very surreal. Like, it feels like someone is going to pinch me one day and it’s all going to go away like this is some sort of dream. I cried of course because that was my first very big co-sign with a huge artist recognizing me. I definitely cried but yes, it felt great. 

Wow! That’s truly groundbreaking for sure. To gain that type of recognition from such an artist. Yeah, that’s pretty sick! So, outside of being a DJ, what would you say are some of your favorite hobbies? 

Um, so my team and I have an entity where we’re working on it to do creative direction for artists. A lot of the things, if not 98% of the things I release are creatively directed by me, which means from finding inspiration to building treatments, so I’m very passionate about creative direction. The opportunity to create something different always excites me. Outside of creative direction, I do read a lot. I don’t know if that’s a hobby or just a distraction. It really helps my mind. So I read a lot. I’m very much a fictional head. I love some good fiction. Besides that, my time is spent traveling. If flying is a hobby, that’s what I do. 

Haha, that is hilarious. Are you into any sports? 

No, not anymore. I used to be into Soccer. Not like watching Soccer. Just playing. If you ask me about Soccer, I have nothing to say but playing? Yes. 

Gotcha! Would you say you have a favorite team? 

Um, no. 

Ok, that’s fair. So I learned you used to be a TV personality back at home. You were hosting a residency for BBC Radio 1. Do you envision yourself presenting again at some point down the line? Or is that a figment of your past life now? 

I would love to do that. There’s nothing creative that I wouldn’t love to do. I would love to get into acting. I’d love to do it all. If I could do it all, I probably would. There’s nothing creative that I wouldn’t love to do. I would love to get into acting. I’d love to do it all honestly. If I could do it all, I probably would. If I can do it all, I probably will. I definitely want to get into it again. Hopefully, it’ll be on bigger platforms this go around but definitely would do it again. 

Is there anyone you look up to in that space? 

In the TV Personality space? 


Bonang! I’m not sure if you’re familiar with her. She’s been famous ever since I’ve had a phone. She’s one person who took simply just being a host on radio to being an international superstar because of it, so she’s definitely an inspiration. How she carries herself. How she still maintains being the absolute best till this day. She’s definitely my biggest inspiration. 

Wow! That’s awesome. I’ve definitely gotta check her out with said acclaim. So I learned that you’re actually the first Amapiano musician to perform at Coachella right?

Yes! *all smiles* 

Wow! That is tremendous forreal. With this being said, how do you feel about that and also how do you feel about America catching onto the blissful sensation that is Amapiano music in general? 

Playing Coachella was very surreal. I was also very scared because it’s a new sound, people don’t know it. I’m being put on a big stage. I was very scared of being swallowed by the stage but when so many people came out, I was like it really means the sound is reaching the heights it deserves to reach. A lot of people have been working very hard on the sound and it’s finally reaching a point where we’re being considered for BET Awards and we’re being considered for other awards. We’re helping produce Drake’s tour, you know. So it’s amazing. I really don’t know how to explain everything that has happened to me. The feeling is something that’s not tangible. Because in the moment, I cry but then I still don’t believe it’s real. Because I’m playing Coachella but am I really playing Coachella or is this a fever dream? 

Yes, I can see how that would be surreal but I’m happy that you held your own and that the sound is spreading across the globe deservingly so of course. 

Yes! Thank you! 

What does the word rebel mean to you in regard to music? 

It means being able to express your creativity and constantly experimenting with your gift no matter what people think of that, taking a chance on yourself always, and betting on your vision.

At what point did you realize the impact of your social media presence?

At my first show in the UK, when I thought people wouldn’t really know me instead I was playing in front of a sold-out crowd chanting my name. This was an amazing experience. * 

What are your top 3 beauty tricks/hacks?

Soap brows, matte consoler & press on nails.

How do you think the creator space has changed the beauty landscape?

The creator space has allowed for more representation within the beauty space which has been amazing to see.

So here’s for the finale. You’ve completed so much in your career already and you’re only 23. Where do you see Uncle Waffles five years from now? 

I see Uncle Waffles five years from now having a world tour where it’s 200 shows a year and they’re all curated where she’s able to be on the main stage of Coachella and give you guys a three hour performance and give a real performance. I see her becoming a bigger artist than she actually is. I see her actually winning that BET Award. I still feel like there’s a lot to still do. I feel like there are a lot of places and spaces that we haven’t reached with Amapiano. I’m praying that it’s still me who helps the sound get there. The next five years, the sound will be where it deserves to be and so will I. 

Well, I think you’re well on your way to achieving your goals. It’s been quite the honor being able to chat with you about your phenomenal career so far. I wish you all the best going forward. 

Thank you so much! 


Photography & Editing: Mishaal gangaram @mishaalganjaz

Lighting tech & Photo Assistant: Kamogelo Litheko @monox_s

Retouch: Skye Barnes @mentallyskye

Galore Art Direction: Perrin Johnson @editsbyperry

Interview Conducted & Transcribed by: JaJuan Malachi @jajuanmalachi

Written and Edited by:  Shirley Reynozo @moyamusic_

Senior Editor: Shirley Reynozo @moyamusic_

Editor in Chief: Prince Chenoa @princechenoastudio

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