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

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - KABELO CHABALALA ‘Idols SA ’ 2017 win­ner Pax­ton Fielies.

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 ka­be­lo03cha­bal­ala@gmail.com; Twit­ter, @Ka­be­loJay; Face­book, Kabelo Chabalala.

PIC­TURE: DAVID RITCHIE (ANA)

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