It’s taken eight seasons, but a Black singer has taken the top prize on “Idols SA,” the South African equivalent of American Idol.
Durban native Khaya Mthethwa was announced as this year’s winner on Oct. 3 after drawing nearly 3 million votes for best vocalist.
“We have made history!!!” Mthethwa said, thanking friends and fans on his Facebook page.
Mthethwa released his first single, “Move,” on Oct. 1. The smooth R&B groove has quickly gone gold.
“Listening to my single playing on-air is just unreal!” Mthethwa said on Twitter where thousands of fans have embraced Mthethwa.
On his climb to become the audience favorite, he performed versions of Otis Redding’s “Tenderness,” Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass,” and a piano version of Aerosmith’s “ I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.”
The 25-year-old said that he is a product of church music that his parents, both pastors, exposed him to as a young child.
“That is where I fell in love with music and I decided that this is what I wanted to do,” he said, of a love for music that had its’ roots in his family living room.
The singer-musician is now on the same path to the kind of success that South African artists such as songstress and activist Miriam Makeba and trumpeter Hugh Masekela have enjoyed.
Mthethwa now has a recording contract with Universal Music South Africa and top of the line electronic hardware from Samsung, including a laptop, printer, and an LED TV. A brand new Ford Fiesta 1.6 Titanium is part of the prize, too.
And just in case he feels like taking to the water, Mthethwa now has a Waverunner jet-ski. A cutting edge wireless microphone and personal monitor are part of the winnings.