Thousands flock to Durban for final Vodacom M-PESA Top Stars audition
Well over 3000 contestants arrived at the SABC's M2 Studio in Durban on Saturday 11 June and Sunday 12 June to take part in the last of six auditions for the 2011 Vodacom M-PESA Top Stars DJ talent search competition. The KZN-based event, which is being held in association with Ukhozi FM and Boxer Superstores, has now attracted almost 5000 competitors since the first audition in Vryheid over six weeks ago, taking Vodacom's "Power to you" to another level.
The inundation of 3221 hopeful DJ's meant that the dedicated judges had to oversee almost 48 hours worth of auditions, narrowing the field to Zamekile Mkhize (Durban), Thokozani Zuma (Durban), Thulanezwi Shezi (Stanger), Bonginkosi Bhengu (Richard's Bay), Menzi Xulu (uMlazi), Wiseman Mabida (Durban), Thembeka Hlongwane (KwaMashu), Sabelo Mnikathi (Pietermaritzburg), Thubelihle Gumbi (Gingindlovu), Ayanda Ntuli (KwaMashu), and Smangele Maphumulo (Amanzimtoti) before awarding the final two spots in the Top 12 to Sabelo Mnikathi and Thembeka Hlongwane.
Main judge and Vodacom M-PESA KZN Regional Manager Khanyi Mpisi said that "the Durban audition has been the most grueling and demanding of the six KZN locations we have visited. It was a monumental task to whittle 3221 contestants down to the two Top 12 finalists, and we could not be more excited about the next stage of the competition!" The popularity of this competition is easy to understand as the Top 12 will now all get the chance to broadcast live on Ukhozi FM on the Ukhozi FM Breakfast Show and the Home Drive Show. Ukhozi FM listeners will play a central role in choosing which aspiring DJ's make it through the gruelling competition, having to vote off two DJ's a week in the month following the selection of the Top 12. The eventual winner of the competition will be crowned as the 2011 Vodacom M-PESA Top Stars Ultimate Radio Presenter at a gala dinner event in Durban before spending an entire year training at Ukhozi FM and then joining the station as a presenter.
Alberts Breed, Vodacom KZN Managing Executive, said that "the amount of hype and support that this event has generated is overwhelming! KwaZulu Natal's youth have shown themselves to be both talented and ambitious, and this is exactly what Vodacom M-PESA Top Stars was meant to bring out. Thanks to the massive amount of people who took the time to audition for the competition, the contestants who comprise the Top 12 are immensely talented and motivated, and we cannot wait to see how the campaign unfolds from this point onwards".
Speaking about the Vodacom M-PESA service, Breed said that "in South Africa, there are millions of economically active people without a bank account. With Vodacom M-PESA, users can transfer money via their cellphones to other M-PESA users without needing to have a bank account. The service has no joining fee, monthly charges or minimum balances, and is easy to use. As such, Vodacom's M-PESA service is just another important way that we can empower our valued customers to make their lives easier".
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