- Category: PA 2011
Born in Durban in 1986, Dashen Naicker developed a keen interest in the art of hip hop emceeing after a chance encounter with pioneering Durban emcees Ewok, Jet and Quincy Fynn at the 2004 Splashy Fen festival. Going by the pseudonym ‘Lighty Faze’, he grew to become a respected figure in the Durban underground hip hop scene.
Discouraged by the divisive nature of battle rapping, Naicker turned toward hip hop expression as a means of social awareness and protest. Using the form and cadence of hip hop emceeing, he began to delve into the genres of spoken word and slam poetry.
In 2006 Naicker won the inaugural Life Check All Elements freestyle Battle, Durban’s prestigious hip hop battle competition. In the same year, he was runner- up at the African Hip Hop Indaba, South Africa’s biggest hip hop event. Naicker has performed countrywide at such events as Splashy Fen and the National Arts Festival, with his poems published in print and online journals, both locally and abroad. In 2010 he was one of the Durban Spotlight poets at Poetry Africa, and winner of the annual Poetry Africa SlamJam.
With an MA in English Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, specialising in Creative Writing, obtained under the supervision of renowned Durban poet, Sally-Ann Murray, Naicker states that he draws inspiration from “forms of social injustice, inequity and iniquity, the men and women who wait in the express line because 10 items or less is all they can afford, the steamy smell of Durban summer rainfall, the sound of clinking spraycans.”
Naicker currently teaches in the Department of English at the University of Zululand, where he also runs the Young Minds Creative Writers Forum.