Call to back our teens as ‘Idols SA’ roars to life
Their future is now; don’t use age as excuse to deny them support
IREMEMBER so well, during Idols season 11, 16- year-old Loyiso Gijana’s opening performance in the Top 16. He graced the stage at the State Theatre for his first live performance with Sam Smith’s famous song Lay Me Down.
I was awestruck. My heart was pumping fast, and I immediately fell in love with the voice of the teenager from the Eastern Cape.
I knew he was going to make it to the Top 10 with ease, because the passion in his eyes was that of a winner.
His talent came with the most amazing humility. Remember, this is back when media people were allowed to interact with the Idols SA hopefuls after every performance (that’s a story for another day).
My reminiscing about Loyiso is triggered by the average age of the 2018 participants.
We have six teenagers, and hopefully, we won’t be hearing the overrated remark: “You are still young, you still have your whole future ahead, and you must still go back to school.”
For them, the future is now. So, my plea to people on social media (Twitter especially), the judges and South Africans who follow this show is: let us not use age as an excuse to not support these youngsters if they have what it takes.
The earlier they start, the better. These teenagers are gifted and, if there is anything to take from last season, it is: talent knows no age and should be nurtured as early as possible.
I am in no way saying we should support them because they are teenagers, but we should not discard them and undermine their gifts because they are still young.
Yanga Sobetwa, 16, is the youngest contestant this year; Nosipho Silinda, 17; Ntokozo Makhathini, 18; Lethabo Ramatsui aka Wattahmelon, 18; Zamagambu Memela aka Xae, 18, and Thando Mngomezulu, 19, are sure to bring the house down and mesmerise us with their pure voices.
I love Idols SA and follow it because it gives me hope and has changed so many young lives, particularly black lives over the years. Thanks to the efforts of this nationwide talent search show, one has hope that our country will be better.
Music remains one of the revolutionary tools that help us fight for unity in our diversity. Music unites people, it helps us look beyond our skin colour and difference, to find commonality and humanity.
In the words of Hunter Thompson: “Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel.”
That is the power of music, and why Idols SA remains the most popular music show in our country. It literally takes a village boy or girl, the poorest of the poor, and gives them a chance to change their lives forever. That is why I support the show and follow it religiously.
It serves a bigger purpose than just recording deals. It also gives many of us an opportunity to forget about our sad daily reality, and be saturated in the emotion-evoking voices and melodies of those who dare to stand in long queues, brave Randall Abrahams, the warmth and comfort of Unathi Msengana and the honesty, love and drama of our beloved Somizi Mhlongo.
Tell me, will you be glued to the TV screen on Sundays at 5pm, or at the Pretoria, State Theatre. Proverb will be your host.
Remember, “Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common”, said Sarah Dessen.
● Kabelo Chabalala is the founder of the Young Men Movement, the 2018 Obama Foundation Africa Leader, and 2018 Finland Correspondent Programme participant. Email email@example.com; Twitter, @KabeloJay; Facebook, Kabelo Chabalala.