If you don’t know the name Protégé then you surely cannot be a supporter of local Cape Town talent.
The boy band has been around for 21 years and is celebrating this milestone with a reunion show at City Hall this weekend.
I still remember seeing them for the first time.
I was sitting in the Luxurama at a Kinders Vannie Ses competition.
This was during the period where being in a boy band was the “in” thing for young male singers.
They walked on stage, three laaities from the Cape Flets, Wafiq Safodien, Devon Roman and Ekraam Cupido, and the MC introduced them as Protégé.
They started their performance with the hit song from Diana Ross, called When You Tell Me That You Love Me, and the audience went crazy.
They inspired me with that performance because while I was part of Kinders Vannie Ses under the guidance of Boeta Maan Adams, here were three guys my age doing their own thing and doing it well.
It didn’t matter that they did not win that night, because Cape Town fell in love with Protégé and their 21-year journey in the local music scene kicked off.
The group later added more members, when Jarrad Ricketts, EBIE and Niyaaz Goolam joined.
Over the years, the members came and went, and other singers who were also part of Protégé include Isgak Adams, Ziyaad Dunshire and Ebrahim Floris.
For me, their biggest success came when the band comprised of Niyaaz, Floris, Cupido and Safwaan Goolam.
They produced a hit song that we all still love in Cape Town when they covered Be My Baby.
Niyaaz started that song with such a beautiful tone that forced us all to listen.
It was only a few years later that I realised how powerful his voice was when Justin Bieber burst on the scene with Baby and it hit number one in the world.
I heard the song for the first time in a taxi on my way to Town from Mitchells Plain and I thought, wow, that’s a great song by Protégé because Justin Bieber’s tone was so similar to that of Niyaaz’s.
At the same time, Cupido had the smooth and silky voice reminiscent of James Ingram.
I do believe that a lot of the group’s success is down to their manager Boeta Alie Floris.
I saw him at every show, making his way through the crowd with his CD bag to the sound guys, who would provide the backtracks for the guys.
Protégé was always upbeat, friendly and smiling and, best of all, well-dressed, and definitely set the standard for other groups.
Today we see groups taking the stage in jeans and T-shirts looking like they’re going to the mall. But Protégé always dressed to impress.
Their reunion is long overdue and deserves the support of Cape Town.
Protégé was always there for the community although they never talk about it.
I remember getting them at every charity fundraiser in Cape Town, performing for free for a good cause.
So let us show our love and appreciation by giving them a sell-out show in the City Hall.
Over the years some of the members pursued solo careers, like Wafeeq Saffodien, who is currently residing in England, and who reached Top 5 of Idols SA.
Niyaaz Goolam and Devon Roman entered Coca-Cola Pop stars, Ekraam Cupido won the Westgate Mall Talent Search in 2009 and by now SAMA nominee Jarrad Ricketts is a household name.
Protégé’s repertoire ranges from the 80s to the latest hits.
The 21st Anniversary Show takes place on Friday at 7pm at the City Hall.
Guest artists include The Boyz, Niesha Abrahams (SA’s very own Shirley Bassey), Toby (juvenile sentimentalist), social media comics Waffles and Mo as well as comedian Wayne McKay.
Tickets cost R120 at the door.