“As you can see from the t-shirts they are wearing, these performers are all MAD.”
In an outfit straight out of Africa’s pride, the Lion King movies, she stepped onto the stage, Mara Louw.
Her composed voice reminds one of the Sophiatown movies where Mbogeni Ngema’s Sarafina came from. She sang songs and melodious tunes that reminded us of Mama Miriam Makeba and the days when polka dots and afros were the in-things. The good old days.
What a fine singer Mara Louw is!
Organised and quite entertaining, she had the crowd up on its feet with her adrenaline filled tunes.
She performed what she called her song of all time: Elton John and George Michael’s ‘Don’t let the sun go down on me.’
That was before she took different local men from the crowd and made them dance to Miriam Makeba’s Phataphata in a real crowd puller stunt.
A white man, together with Benson Phuthego, of BTV fame, were amongst the unlucky individuals who were pulled onto the stage to sing and dance to tracks from her days back in Soweto.
Live at Gaborone International Conference Centre (GICC), Louw, who was also one of the judges for the well-received and famous South African Idols show, graced the My African Dream grand finale as a specially-selected guest, together with Botswana’s very own talented Shanti Lo.
Louw has also been recently appointed Goodwill ambassador of Child Welfare in South Africa.
“It is quite a thrill for me to be here tonight; I am very attached to kids and when this finale was presented to me, I said ‘yes’ immediately,” said Louw.
This year’s finale had a variety of talent showing performances, what with the hip-hop dancing, the bollywood dancing, ballroom dancing and the singing contestants.
The only vice was with the many groups who were dancing to house music, with most of them making similar moves and with their routine not well co-ordinated.
The evening’s performance, which was categorized by the junior category, the teen category and the senior category, was kicked started by a spell-binding performance from a blind Motswana man, Setlholo Kwelo, who came all the way from Maun to perform to his best ability.
Kwelo played an instrument of his own invention, one that was similar to a traditional flute.
The star of the night was undoubtedly Moonga Kapambwe, a young man who received a standing ovation halfway before his performance ended. Hands down, the child nailed his singing performance to the letter. His voice seemed to have impressed most of the people present at the ceremony, even Mara Louw.
When up on stage, Mara professed her amazement at the boy’s voice.
“You have a brilliant voice. I would advise you to search and find a voice coach here in Gaborone to teach you the right way of handling it because you are still young and there is danger of your voice getting corrupted by the time you turn 19. If you can’t find one, then somebody better reach me,” said Louw.
As if that was not enough, the boy went on to win the Judges Choice award together with Kwelo.
After the spectacular performances of the night, Lebogang Motubudi, one of the judges, announced that winners’ category would be divided into the viewer’s choice awards and the judges’ choice awards.
In the viewers’ choice awards, people were allowed to vote through texting the number of the person they wanted to win to a number provided by Mascom, a service provider, which was one of the sponsors of the event.
In the senior category, the bollywood girls, 2 lovely girls who bought India’s lively dance theatrics to Botswana, won the runner up position, while the Jozi Victims, a group of boys dancing to house music came first.
In the teen category, Danijel Taric, another composed singer showing “signs of maturity” in his work obtained the runner up position, it was not Taric’s first appearance on My African dream.
The winner went to a hip-hop dancing group the Exotics who fully deserved their prize. Their dance moves were original and highly driven by energy ridden youths who loved nothing more than to dance. Their moves were catchy and attention grabbing, there were also the only hip-hop dancing group at the finale.
The junior runner up award went to Daphne Sekuni, the little girl who continues to amaze everyone with her crazy body shaking antics or as Beyonce would say, “booty shaking”. Her flexible little body was dancing along to Beyonce’s ‘Get me bodied’ and she too, nailed her performance.
The winners’ award went to the Exotic dance duo, a ballroom dancing two that received oohs and aahs from the crowd as they danced along to Deanna’s performance of Jordin Sparks’ battlefield.
The event was well organized and well worth the prize on the ticket. Other judges of the event included Greg Losibe, David Slater, Hayley Buchanan, Jennifer Meyer, Joe Matome, Soccer Moruakgomo, Gao Basuhi, Zynne Mmolawa, Dr A.J.RA de Drouillard and Kagiso Ketswantwa.