national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, November 5, 2016


(Last year’s Gospel Icon Discovery Competition winners: GTI Gospel Group from Umlazi; Mphathiseni Dube from Newtown & Siphesihle Hadebe from Cato Manor [photo by Val Adamson]

The 4th annual Gospel Icon Discovery Competition takes place at the Ohlange Sports Ground in Inanda on November 13. This eThekwini Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit Gospel music talent search programme is aimed at cultivating upcoming artists in the City, and helps them launch their musical careers.

The project is designed to produce future gospel icons while alleviating poverty. The competition not only creates memories, but also has a positive impact on society by developing people’s musical skills and assisting participants in reaching their aspirations. Following extensive auditions, those artists who have made it past the preliminary rounds are given the opportunity to showcase their skills at the main event mentioned above, where the winners are announced.

There are three categories: the Odwinkidwinki category caters for children under 12; the second category including soloists and duets from 13 years and older; and the third category, for groups of all ages. In each category, the winner is awarded a cash prize of R15,000 and a full recording contract. The second and third prize winners in each category get R10,000 and R5,000 respectively, as well as a chance for a demo.

The talent scouting programme initiative, which is the brainchild of the Head of Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit, Thembinkosi Ngcobo, involves prominent local artists who assist developing upcoming artists. Mentored by the event’s judges - Thina Zungu, DJ Happy Gal, Gah Ndlela, Malusi Mbokazi and Thokozani Ndlovu - the winners become ambassadors for the development programme through being invited to perform for professional fees on influential platforms such as high profile-municipal and government functions, among others events.

The 2016 Gospel Icon Discovery competition forms part of the Essence Festival: Durban, which culminates with a big-stage concert at Moses Mabhida Stadium on the evening of November 13, where the day’s Gospel Discovery Icon competition winners will get to share the stage with superstars such as Ne-Yo, Wiz Kid, Black Coffee, Yolanda Adams, Mary Mary and Joyous Celebration.

Last year’s Gospel Icon Discovery Competition winners were GTI Gospel Group from Umlazi, Mphathiseni Dube from Newtown A, and Siphesihle Hadebe from Cato Manor. They are presently recording their albums.

The Gospel Icon Discovery Competition 2016 takes place at the Ohlange Sports Ground in Inanda near Durban between 08h30 and 15h30 on November 13. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend and show their support for the competitors.