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From Shekinah to Lloyiso, ‘Idols made stars’: A closer look at SA’s very best


Shekinah will be at the Buyel'ekhaya Fest

Shekinah will be at the Buyel’ekhaya Fest

  • TV and radio personality Sizwe Dhlomo says Idols SA, which is coming to an end in its 19th season, made stars in its 21-year run.
  • In a video, Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) announced that the upcoming season was its “farewell season”.
  • Auditions for the final season kick off on Sunday, 12 February.

While news that long-running singing reality competition show Idols SA was coming to an end in its 19th season sparked multiple conversations on social media, TV and radio personality, Sizwe Dhlomo did not mince his words when he weighed in on the matter.

The Kaya Drive with Sizwe Dhlomo host made it clear that the show made “stars” in its 21-year run.

“Guys, Idols made stars. Maybe ke you didn’t like them or something, you can say that, but they made stars.”

His remark sparked conversation among social media users, where some asked who the “stars” he was referring to were. In contrast, others mentioned several contestants and winners who had made names for themselves in the music and entertainment industry after their time on the show ended.

Here we look at former contestants and winners who are still going strong in the industry:

Gail Mabalane

While Mabalane, then Nkoane, did not win the sixth season of Idols SA in 2010, she made it to the top 10. Elvis Blue eventually won the season.

After her time on the show, Mabalane made a name for herself, starring in Mzansi Magic’s (DStv 161) The Wild and Rockville and Netflix’s Blood & Water, among others.

In 2022, the wife and mother of two launched her vegan and cruelty-free haircare brand, Etnogenics, inspired by her hair struggles.


Suited hitmaker Shekinah first entered the singing reality competition in 2011 and made it to the top 32, but it was not until a year later, in 2012, in season eight, that she made it to the top six and won the hearts of South Africans. Khaya Mthethwa won the season.

Since then, she has gone on to make a name for herself and released multiple hit songs, including Back to the Beach, Let You Know, and Please Mr. She has also gone on to win multiple South African Music Awards, a Metro Music Award and an MTV Africa Music Award.

Khaya Mthethwa

The Move hitmaker made a name for himself when he won the eighth season of the competition in 2012. The runner-up was Melissa Allison.

Mthethwa’s win in the competition was a watershed moment as he was the first-ever black South African winner. Since then, he has won South African Music Awards, among others, and bagged a show on the radio.

Kyle Deutschmann

Shekinah’s Back to the Beach collaborator entered Idols SA in 2014 for its 10th season but finished fifth. Vincent Bones won the season.

Apart from winning the MTV Africa Music Award, alongside Shekinah for the collaboration, his vocals have also been featured in tracks with Cassper Nyovest, Kwesta and Sketchy Bongo. The musician has also opened gigs for Justin Bieber.

Amanda Black

After finishing seventh in season 11 of the show in 2015, Amanda Black won three South African Music Awards for her debut album, Amazulu. Karabo Mogane won Season 11.

In the same year, she was nominated for a BET award. Since then, Amanda Black has released several other hits, including Thandwa Ndim’ and Vuka, featuring Anthony Hamilton.


Also, a contestant from season 11 was Lloyiso Gijana, who finished in the top five. The Seasons hitmaker had a big year in 2022 after performing at Brooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz’s wedding and receiving praise from Grammy-winning India Arie.

Earlier in the month, he asked for the country’s support as he was about to become the biggest artist in the world.

Mzansi Magic announced Idols SA would end on Sunday when it shared that auditions would start next week. The 19th season has been dubbed the “farewell season”.

“After 18 successful seasons on air, Mzansi Magic and M-Net local entertainment channels confirm the decision to give Idols SA its final curtain call,” M-Net local entertainment channels director Shirley Adonisi said in a press statement.

She added:

“The international format talent search competition has been a stage of opportunities where many careers were launched, and we would like to thank the crew, on-air talent and sponsors for their contribution to its success over the years. We look forward to an epic final season and will continue to secure and produce the best content, which Mzansi Magic viewers have come to enjoy.”

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