East Africa’s Got Talent comes to Kigali

Traditional dancer from Mashirika Performing Arts entertain guests at the event to announce ‘Got Talent’ East Africa, in Kigali on April 18. Courtesy photos.

Rwanda will join Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania among the countries to take part in the inaugural regional talent show, ‘East Africa’s Got Talent’.

Tanzanian based media powerhouse, Clouds Media, is behind the inaugural season of the talent show,  that is akin to Britain’s ‘Got Talent’, and it will be produced in partnership with Freemantle SYCO and Rapid Blue Productions from South Africa.

The show, which is part of ‘Got Talent’ Africa franchise, started in 2014 by Simon Cowell, will see acts ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous performances for a chance to be crowned the most talented East African.

 ‘Got Talent’ is a very expensive brand which requires a lot of resources to gain rights according to Gerard Mpyisi, the Board Member of Clouds Media, who revealed that it was not easy to get accredited to run the programme in East Africa.

 “We have been working to bring Got Talent here for the last two years. It was not an easy process. I am looking forward to lots of young people from Rwanda taking up this opportunity to showcase their talents. I can’t wait to see a Rwandan become the winner of the first season of East Africa’s Got Talent,” Mpyisi said during an event to announce the show in Kigali.

Lee Ndayisaba is the executive producer of East Africa’s ‘Got Talent.’

“Many times we have a lot of talented young people but they lack a platform to show us what they are able to do. So this is a platform that is going to help young people come out of their shells and unleash their potential,” Mpyisi said.

Lee Ndayisaba, the Executive Producer of East Africa’s ‘Got Talent’, said expectations are really high given the raw talent hidden in Rwanda, which was added onto the list of countries after intense lobbying.

 “We expect to find the next big star, not just a musician, but someone that will go on to conquer the continent and beyond. Initially, the plan was to have three countries due to the logistics and resources involved but I said we must have Rwanda on board and I defended my proposition.  Eventually, Rwanda was added,” Ndayisaba said.

The auditions are open to all sorts of talent, including singers, dancers, instrumentalists, magicians, comedians and novelty acts, among many more creative talents. There is no age limit but participants aged 18 and below will be required to show permission from parents or guardians.

Participants are also encouraged to submit their entries online, via a link available on East Africa’s Got Talent Facebook page or on WhatsApp.

Auditions for the show will kick off in Kenya in May, with pre-auditions in Nairobi, then move to Kigali on May 25 at Intare Arena before Tanzania and then Uganda.

Pre-auditions in Kigali will be aired on Rwanda Television in Rwanda, NTV in Uganda, Clouds TV in Tanzania and on Citizen TV in Kenya.

This years’ season series will be hosted by comedian Anne Kansiime.

The show, due to start airing in August this year, will have 10 episodes, with the semi-finals and the grand finale shot live on location in Kenya.

Successful participants from Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda will travel to Kenya for the live shows whereby the winner, determined by the public, will be announced at the series grand finale slated for October 6, and will walk away with USD 50 000 (Rwf45 million).

 ‘Got Talent’ is the world’s most successful reality TV format ever and has since spawned spin-offs in over 60 countries. The format has had more than 900 million global viewers since it began airing in 2006 and has aired in 194 markets worldwide.

Lillias Bode, the Series producer for Rapid Blue, excitedly said ‘Got Talent’ is a platform that she can recommend to young talents given fruitful experiences that previous winners have had.

 “We focus mostly on big formats. I’ve done a lot of big shows … but ‘Got Talent’ is definitely close to my heart. When you’re a winner, it is a golden experience because of the television phenomenon ‘Got Talent’ transforms lives inmany ways,” she said.


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