The winners of SA’s Got Talent (SAGT) believed they were the underdogs when they went up against the Cape Town finalists.
The Kryptonite Dance Academy from Pretoria, walked off with the top prize of R500 000.
They were up against a group of top Cape performers, three of whom garnered the most votes in their respective semifinals.
Saron singer Derek Plaatjies, drag diva Manila Von Teez from Cape Town, singer Phoenix (real name Bernadette Adams) from Manenberg and pantsula dancers The Professionals from Langa made up four of the six final acts on Sunday night.
The final two were Manila and the Kryptonites, but it was the dancers who the country crowned winners.
On Monday, the female impersonator and lip sync artist thanked fans on Facebook, posting: “South Africa proved last night that once we learn acceptance and love for each other, we can achieve so much!”
“To my family, loved ones, friends and each and everyone one who sent messages of support and love I am forever grateful! Live your Dreams, the rest as they say, is “HERstory” Tons of LOVE,” writes Manila.
The man behind the make-up and stunning wigs is Veon Wentzel, a clothing designer, who says he will continue building his business while also making sure Manila’s name lights up the stage.
Eugene Baloyi, the co-founder of the Kryptonite Dance Academy, says the 25 dancers just wanted to do their best.
“It’s still so unbelievable and overwhelming that we won, because at times we really felt like the underdogs,” he says.
“We just felt like dancers don’t always get the right recognition, especially because dancers have tried before us and failed.”
Unfortunately, none of the dancers will see any of the cash.
Eugene says they will use the half a million rand prize money to buy their own dance studio, and also do more community outreach work to teach the youth the right moves.
The Professionals, Phoenix and Derek were all on the same flight back to Cape Town yesterday afternoon.
Phoenix, 45, who went from being a drug mule and prisoner to a TV star, say she is definitely going to continue singing.
“I was in a band before, so I think I can go freelance now or on my own because I believe I have so much to give,” she says.
Derek, 23, says not winning isn’t the end of the world for him either.
“To make the Top 3 was a great achievement and I am not going to stop now,” says the singer and guitarist.
“I will still make YouTube videos so people can follow me on social media, and early next year I plan to release a single.”
The Professionals are also upbeat about their future and leader Sbongisiseni Jaca says: “We are proud to be the first pantsula dancers to make it to the finals of the competition.”
“We want people to know that there is a bright future for pantsula.”