Words by:
Photography: Laura Vifer

Juba works out to clear her head. Running especially helps her stay grounded, wherever she’s at.

In her current base in Berlin, the cute streets of her kiez will do for a quick run. On more adventurous days, it’s the route along the spree, snaking past Brandenburger Tor and elegant grey bulks of museums like HKW. She discovered the route during lockdowns as a chance to “break away from screens and distractions and engage in some real, physical, human behaviour,” she remembers. Back then things were unusually quiet, with an airy serenity you can still find on the odd Sunday. But those runs opened up a rare spaciousness. “I do miss it.”

Juba’s been busy lately. She’s gaining momentum as one of Europe’s most exciting DJs, punching out sets bursting with the energy of UK club sounds, Afrobeats, gqom, kuduro, and other rhythms inspired by her Nigerian heritage. In the past years she’s held down Cashmere and Rinse residencies, been a backing singer on tour with Pongo, and championed femme producers from the Global South through her Assurance podcast and compilation. This summer she played Carnival with her hometown collective, London’s Boko! Boko!, and her own parties with her Berlin crew BPM bring talent from the worlds of gqom, Afro house, Afrotech, techno and more to Tresor’s Globus floor.


In music, Juba moves forward with the mindset that fitness champs will often channel: it’s about effort, and not the end result. “I’m trying to relinquish control; have pride in what I do and not hold onto the outcome too much.” Like dropping the urge to achieve flimsy signifiers of success or relevancy. “There’s so many variables, trends of the moment, in how we present ourselves on social media… you can give yourself a lot of anxiety.” Instead, the goal is consistency. “Be there for opportunities, be a technically sound DJ, have great selections.” She makes sure she delivers on her Cashmere and Rinse radio shows. So that “people talk about Juba, they’re like yeah, she’s definitely someone you want to have on side.” At the same time, “it’s also nice to like, enjoy good food, have nice cushions at home, go to a spa every now and then, read a book,” she laughs. “Find joy in other things.”

Between this, her day job and just life, there’s been a lot to get her mind tangled in. Today she finds mental calm through running, pole dancing and boxing. “Even on the days I want to sit in my flat and wallow in self pity, I know I’m going to feel better after,” she says. “They’ve really helped me get headspace.”

On the road, she factors it in to get structure and discover new places. “You can take a pair of trainers with you anywhere, go explore.” Usually it’s yoga in the morning, an evening run, sometimes finding “a pole dancing class in Lisbon, for example,” to drop into. “I like to integrate into normal life there as much as I can,” she says. “That means living my lifestyle. I don’t like feeling sedentary.” Mixes keep her going on long runs, like the cutting-edge east African club sounds of Nyege Nyege’s Kampire, or some heavy hitters from Bianca Oblivion. Sometimes her own recordings when she’s still working out the knots, like her 2022 FACT Mix, named mix of the year by RA. For pole dancing she’ll stick on a Pangaea mix, Ice Spice or go softer with some amapiano. “The music affects your energy,” she says. “It’s all movement.”

We’re all riding life’s proverbial journey, but sometimes the end result is sweet. Like finally landing that pole move, the shoulder mount that seemed impossible four years ago. She likes to surprise others too in boxing classes, enjoying the looks on faces when they realise, “‘Okay, she’s strong’.” From core strength to her career, all this work keeps Juba building solid foundations to be “less blind sighted” by what life inevitably throws her way. Even when she feels it, on those days she needs to drag herself out of the flat. She shows up, and regains focus: “just try to survive the run, man. See how far I can go without stopping.”

Follow Juba on Instagram and track your own running journey on the Nike Run Club App