SA Got Talent (South Africa’s Got Talent) is a countrywide talent hunt show, which airs on South Africa’s biggest independent, free-to-air television channel, the e.tv. The show, which is a part of the Got Talent series, is in search of the country’s next great talent act. It features a variety of performers of all ages, ranging from singers to dancers to comedians, and many others.
While it has become one of the most popular talent search competitions in South Africa, SA Got Talent first premiered on SABC2 on the 1st of October 2009. Its origin could be traced back to the British Got Talent show that was created by Simon Cowell in 2005. However, the show has now spread to over 65 countries in the world, including South Africa. After its inception, SABC2 aired the first and second season, before it was moved to e.tv in 2012.
Starting from the third season to date, e.tv has since become the official broadcaster of the show. It has an on-air running time of sixty minutes, with commercials inclusive. In the course of the show, contestants perform live in front of the judges and audience. The competition is usually hosted in various cities within South Africa and the faith of the individuals auditioning is dependent on at least a two yes votes from the judges.
During the show, some individuals never get to show the full performance of what they are capable of, as the judges could cut it short by pressing the buzzer. If all three buzzers are pressed, then the performance will have to come to an immediate end. Eventually, those who make it to the next round keep getting cut off by the judges, until they get to the semi-finals and the phone lines become available for the viewers to vote.
SA Got Talent Auditions & Guidelines
During auditions, registered participants would be displaying their talent through a previously memorized and rehearsed solo piece or by performing a work or piece given to them at the audition or shortly before. The audition is open to all legal South African residents, including children and adults. If you are accepted to join the audition, there are things you must have in mind and they are as follows:
1. The judges make the final decision on who should or should not continue with the contest and no correspondence will be entered into.
2. The information given by you as a participant in the form, may be used in the programme, “SA’s Got Talent” if you are finally selected.
3. Registered participants are expected to ensure their forms are well filled as they will be held responsible for any detail that is left incomplete or filed incorrectly.
4. Participants are meant to abide by the rules and regulations governing the competition which usually changes depending on the company’s decision.
5. The company also reserves the right to disqualify any participant who they discovered have supplied untruthful, inaccurate or misleading personal details and/or information, or one who failed to abide by the rules and regulations of the competition.
6. Copyright laws are highly respected during the competition. Hence, participants are asked to give prior information to the company, if they plan to use commercial music. No profanity will be tolerated.
Following the auditions of about 200 successful acts, the judges will take a rigorous process to whittle down the acts to 21. Thereafter, all the performers are notified if they made it to the semi-finals. Those who are able to scale through would perform in front of a live audience and the successful acts will proceed to the finals. However, the judges can no longer buzz any act after the semi-finals. Rather, they open the phone lines for viewers and audiences to vote for their favorite contestants.
While the participants with the highest public votes advance to the finals, the judges also got the chance to select the second and the third-place winners. Contestants who have been fortunate enough to win this competition has no doubt displayed quite an exceptional talent in their chosen performance field.
Who are the Judges on SA Got Talent?
Since the inception of the show in 2009, there has constantly been a transition in the judging crew of SA Got Talent. Perhaps, the only judge that has remained consistent from the first season to date is Shado Twala. The first and second season saw Shado Twala, Randall Abrahams, and Ian Von Memerty, make up the judging crew. However, Randall left after the second season and was replaced by Kabelo Mabalane. After the fourth season, Ian Von Memerty and Kabelo Mabalane left the show and were replaced by DJ Fresh and Lalla Hirayama. Prior to the 7th season, Lalla left and was replaced by Jamie Bartlett. Meet the current judges of the show below:
Best known for her various stints on as a journalist, businesswoman, radio and TV producer, Shado Twala is a South African media darling. Born and raised in Cape Town, she began her radio career during the 1980s and has been consistent for over two and a half decades and still counting. Twala has worked for top radio stations including Heart 104.9FM, Radio Metro, 567 Cape Talk Radio, and 702 Talk Radio. She became one of the judges on SA Got Talent in 2009 and since then, she has been appearing on the show to date.
Although he was born as Thato Sikwane, he has become widely known by his professional name DJ Fresh. Thato is a well-known South African radio DJ, producer, and a successful entrepreneur. Best known for his stints with Metro FM, 5Fm, and 94.7FM, DJ Fresh joined SA Got Talent in its 5th season (2014); thus replacing Kabelo Mabalane. Asides from the show, the popular DJ also serves as a guest judge on Idols SA.
Bartlett is a prolific South African movie star, famously known for his role David Genaro on the e.tv drama series, Rhythm City. Born and raised in Maidenhead, England, Jamie has been active in the entertainment industry for over three decades and still counting. He has played prominent roles, not just in South African movies but also in American films. He joined SA Got Talent in the 7th season, replacing Lalla Hirayama.
Meet The Winners of SA’s Got Talent
Season 1 – Darren Rajbal
Born and raised in Durban, in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, Darren Rajbal is a deaf hip-hop dancer and the winner of the first edition of SA Got Talent. The show finale was held on the 12th of November 2009 and he won the cash prize of R250,000. Darren graduated from the Creative Arts College located in Durban and has since garnered international fame, through his outstanding dancing skills. His recent successes include performing at the first-ever Deaf Theatre Festival in South Africa and at Festival d’Oeil, Reims, France in 2013.
Season 2 – James Bhemgee
James Bhemgee is a Kenyan opera singer and the winner of the 2nd edition of SA Got Talent. Notably, he won the competition in 2010, at the age of 45. Born and raised in Worcester, James lived the life of gypsy with his troubled mother. They moved from Gugulethu to Heideveld to Retreat and then, Kalksteensfontein. He started singing since he was a child and even in his adult age, he has never stopped. Since May 2010, he has been singing with two of his best friends, Eugene Jephta and Matthew Overmeyer, as the Cape Flats’ Tenors.
Season 3 – Botlhale Boikanyo
Botlhale Boikanyo is a spoken word artist and the season three winner of SA Got Talent. Born in Mahikeng in the North West province of South Africa, Botlhale is the daughter of Mumsy Boikanyo and Lebone Boikanyo. During the show, the youngster inspired millions of South Africans with her impressive poetry and was later pronounced winner on show’s finale on the 18th of October 2012, at the age of 13. Thereafter, she launched an original poetry album titled Spoken Word & Music, which earned her a South African Music Award for Best Traditional Album in 2014. She has also gone into acting; hence, making her debut in the soap opera, Scandal!.
Season 4 – Johnny Apple
Johnny Apple is a Canadian singer and the winner of the fourth season of SA Got Talent. He won the competition in 2013, at the age of 16. Since then, he has gone on to release his eponymous debut album which has become a hit. Johnny has equally organized several musical concerts in different parts of South Africa. Notably, he featured as One Direction’s opening act during their South African tour in 2015.
Season 5 – Tholwana Mohale
Tholwana Mohale is a talented singer and guitarist, famously known as the winner of the 5th edition of SA Got Talent. Notably, she won the competition in 2014, at the age of 14. Born in a small town, Steinkopf located in the Northern Cape province, Mohale moved to Johannesburg to pursue her education. While in Joburg, she got the chance to audition for the talent hunt show. Following her remarkable performances, she advanced to the finals; hence becoming the winner of the contest. After the show, Tholwana Mohale’s music career began in earnest and her hit debut album 184.108.40.206 was released in 2018. She has also released several hit singles and has collaborated with other top artists.
Season 6 – DJ Arch JNR
DJ Arch Jnr., whose birth name was Oratilwe AJ Hlongwane is currently making waves as the youngest South African disc jockey. He won the R500,000 prize money in the 6th edition of SA’s Got Talent competition held in 2015. Having won the competition at the age of 3, DJ Arch Jnr. holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s youngest club DJ. Born to Refiloe Marumo (mother) and Glen Hlongwane (father), Oratilwe hails from Johannesburg, South Africa. Following his triumph at the talent search competition, DJ Arch Jnr. also participated in the American Got Talent: The Champions and Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions, where he won the hearts of many with his impressive performance.
Season 7 – Kryptonite Dance Academy
Kryptonite Dance Academy is an institution founded by two centurions, Eugene Khomanani Baloyi and Zoyi Lindiwe Muendane. Located in Pretoria, South Africa, the academy took home the R500,000 grand prize at the 7th edition of SA’s Got Talent in 2016. The group was led by Eugene Baloyi and is the first dance academy to win the tightly contested talent search competition. The academy was said to have won the competition with most public votes.
Season 8 – AnecNote
AnecNote is an Acapella group that took the entertainment world by storm in 2017, following their triumph at the SA’s Got Talent competition. During the competition, the group secured DJ Fresh’s golden buzzer during the auditions. They won the hearts of South Africans with their jaw-dropping performance; hence, earning the grand prize (R500,000) in the 8th season of the show held in 2017. Thereafter, they launched their seven-track EP titled Unaccompanied. This multicultural group consists of five members, including Amy Campbell (Soprano), Leah Adams (Alto), Kevin Smuts (Tenor), Morné Kahts (Bass), and Daniel Nambassi (Beatboxer).