Celtel star search winner named

Like all competitions, there can only be one winner and 22 year old Theo Kampungoma emerged as the undiscovered talent that Zambia through Celtel, the country’s leading mobile company has been searching for.

Celtel Zambia announced the launch of the K2 billion countrywide Star Search Project to identify young talented Zambians between the ages of 18 and 30 to be groomed into international music stars.

Soft spoken Theo walked away with one year recording contract in South Africa , a familiarisation tour of recording studios in New York and the main prize of a brand new Toyota Corola valued at US$ 26, 000.

The finalists who included Viola Banda 26 , 18 year old Titus Simanje, Fines Mushanga 29, 18 year oldNomsa Chinonda and Kapuka Mahuma 18 each performed three songs before leaving their fate in the hands of the judges and the voting public.

The contestants received rave reviews from the judges particularly Theo who got a standing ovation from the only female judge, songstress Jane Osborne. Viola who entered the competition confident of winning gave a breath taking performance that left music producer Trevor Kalaluka (TK) speechless. TK spent after weeks complaining of Viola lack of self-restraint when singing.

Chishala Chitoshi aka Gesh-lawyer, TV and radio entertainer and businessman had nothing but praise for 29 year old former teacher Fines who mesmerized the audience with his rendition of Nathan Nyirenda’s emotional track “Mwemakufi”.

18 year old Kapuka was fantastic with his rapping skills when he performed Fat Joe’s “Lean back” and Chamilionaire’s “riding dirty”. Although 28 year old Nomsa and 18 year old Titus did not receive positive results from the judges, the overall response from the crowd that gathered at the country’s largest conference centre was electric.

When the name of the second runners up position was announced, a visibly disappointed Viola fought to look happy when she received a K5 million dummy check. She also won shopping vouchers at Arcades , a one year recording contract with a renowned South African producer and a portable public address system.

However, Viola’s faded rather quickly as she was seen later during the conference with the media where she said “Am blessed to have been given this opportunity because there are many people who wish they were in my shoes,” she said.

A surprise winner was young rapper Kapuka who took second place position bagging K10 million cash prize, home recording studio set and a recording contract. It seems the young lad is on his way to convincing a society that is yet to accept hip-hip music as part of its culture.

The Celtel Star Search initially started with over 3,000 people attending the Lusaka auditions that were conducted at Intercontinental Hotel.

Later several people were disqualified by the judges amid complaints that judges were biased in the selection of those to be in the contest.

Thereafter, only 120 contestants from all around the country qualified to attend the star school were they were equipped with appropriate knowledge and skills to become the desired Celtel star.

An excited David Venn, Celtel’s managing director said has been a success and would consider making the show an annual event because of the contribution it was making in developing Zambia ‘s music industry.

“One thing that we found is that there is a lot of untapped talent and making it an annual event would make them have an opportunity to exploit their talent. If we can help them they can be role models,” he said.

October 2006
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