Thato Makape (23) the runner-up of the 14th season of Idols that ended on Sunday night on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) has a big dream to create an arts academy for his small town of Postmasburg in the Northern Cape and is planning to go on a nationwide tour in April 2019.
Thato, who was the oldest contestant this season in the Top 10, faced off against Yanga Sobetswa as the youngest.
Thato is a young barber who left school in Grade 11 to help his sick mom and probably holds the record for longest traveller to an Idols audition after he journeyed a staggering 1 250km over days – using buses and taxis and all his money – to get to Cape Town for the auditions in February after also doing a try-out in Durban.
On Sunday night the level-headed and well-liked Thato restored the tradition when he appeared before the media at the Idols finale post-show press conference with the winner, to answer questions.
In the previous 13th season the runner-up balked and for the first time in the history of Idols refused to face the media or to participate in the prize handover ceremony, leading to controversy.
“Taking the first prize doesn’t say you’re the only winner. The runner-up who came second out of thousands of people in the country is also a winner,” said Thato.
To fans and people living in Postmasburg and everywhere else who believed in him and supported him, he had a message.
“I want to tell everybody in my small town of Postmasburg – I remember my first audition and in it I was asked does a place like Postmasburg even exist. Now I believe everybody knows Postmasburg.
“And all of us in Postmasburg are winners because we came second in the greatest music show platform in the country.”
“I’ve always seen this arts academy in Postmasburg, not just music but arts where everybody can showcase their craft in whatever they are talented and gifted in.
“People would be able to come there, learn more about it, like a school, you get a certificate. That’s my plan for Postmasburg and it’s coming.”
Channel24 asked Thato about the bond he has with Yanga and the other contestants.
“We all lived together in one house. A house is a place for family. The stage is a place for competition. So when you’re on stage you compete, but at the house I’m family to everybody.”
“It doesn’t help I stay with you all and I’m mean with everybody. I mean, who’s going to put some Epson salt in the food? Yanga and I ended up being like brother and sister,” he said.
“To Gavin Wratten, the director and co-executive producer, I would like to say thank you for giving me this opportunity to be on the greatest music platform in the country. My performance tour is going to start in April 2019 to various provinces and hopefully to countries outside South Africa.”
Channel24 also asked Thato what his family has meant to him during the competition and how it felt bringing them with him into this new TV and entertainment industry he became part of.
“Going to the Idols auditions in Durban was okay, but going to Cape Town was a problem. My mom said ‘Who’s going to pay for your transport? It’s super far from here. So at your own risk boetie.’ But then making it to the Idols Top 16 and I’m an only child, it became a job for her to support me.
“She would travel every Sunday to come to Idols. That’s why you would always have seen me looking to my left when I was on stage because I was always looking to this beautiful woman that I know and love so much – my mom – who makes me carry all that joy on stage.
“Seeing my family support me from the beginning of this competition until the end, I can’t even explain how it feel to me because it’s beyond happiness, joy, honour and privilege, I can’t express it in words. I’m so proud that they’re proud of me.”