An absolutely amazing experience that completely changed her life.
That’s how local singing sensation Noma Khumalo described her win in South Africa’s Idols season 12 on Sunday.
An exhausted Khumalo told The Witness on Monday she had a tight schedule with back-to-back media interviews and said she had not yet had the chance to “absorb everything”.
Khumalo, who will start working on recording her first album, also could not confirm when she will return to Pietermaritzburg, but said she has a special message for her students: “Never give up on your dreams. If you set your heart on doing something, you’ll always find a way.”
The substitute teacher from Pietermaritzburg put the city on the map after winning the title.
Idols judge Somizi Mhlongo said: “We know the province and place you [Khumalo] come from now, because of you.”
He also said Khumalo is proof that one doesn’t need high-tech studios and schools to learn how to sing, telling Khumalo “you have a God-given talent”.
Her mother, Busisiwe Khumalo, who attended the live show on Sunday night with Khumalo’s father, family and friends, said they didn’t get a chance to see her after she was announced the winner.
“She was so busy with the media, we didn’t get to celebrate with her and we’re unsure when she will come home,” said Busisiwe.
On Sunday night — before being named SA’s Idol— Khumalo gave a confident performance of Mariah Carey’s Without You.
“When I perform I always get into character and have no thoughts on anything else,” she told The Witness. “But after that performance, reality kicked-in and I was very nervous.”
Her father, Muntu Khumalo, said: “It has been an unbelievable journey. The atmosphere at the show was electric! We’re still in shock.
“She has pulled through with the grace of God. Keep the support. We need it and Maritzburg also needs it so much, as she belongs to all of us.
“We want Maritzburg to celebrate as soon as she lands here. Thanks to the people who voted for Noma and ensured that she was crowned the Idol for season 12,” he added.
Sunday’s finale saw performances by some of the biggest names in the South African music industry, including rap star AKA, Karabo (Idols SA season 11 winner), Kelly Khumalo, Nathi and Idols SA judge Unathi reunited with her kwaito collaborator, Zola.
Khumalo’s rival, 28-year-old Thami Shobede from Mtubatuba, auditioned for Idols SA for the first time when he was just 16 years old.
Mhlongo said his story is inspirational as he persevered to make his dreams come true.
Shobede told The Witness that some of his highlights on the show were going to New York for the first time, and performing his new single Sthandwa.
When asked what lesson he learned from this experience, he said: “I learned the power of my voice as an artist lies in the honesty of my performance.”
Auditions for Idols SAseason 13 take place on January 28, 2017, at The Playhouse in Durban. Visit www.idolssa.tv for more information.