Congrats to Malinga, but...

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to Team Robbie - KZN wins ClashSA  2014

THE CLASH of the Choirs crown went to choirmaster Robbie Malinga and his team/choir from KwaZulu-Natal (pictured) “defended the title” and walked away with a cool R750 000.

Of the winning prize, R250 000 will be donated to the charity of their choice, Ikhwezi Welfare Centre, and the choir will split the rest among themselves.

When I interviewed the judges for the last time I asked if they had expected this result.

Rebecca Malope diplomatically said “yes” while trying to be as vague as possible.

Lindelani Mkhize avoided giving a direct answer, saying that he was happy with the Top 3 and anyone could have taken the honours.

Anele Mdoda, however, said what I was looking for. She congratulated Malinga, but admitted that his team wasn’t her personal choice as the winners.

With that in mind, here’s how I feel this show should have gone down based on the overall performances from the choirs since day one.

• Seventh place: Simphiwe Dana (Eastern Cape): this was a good result because while Dana is unmatched in her personal track record, when it came to arranging the choir she looked lost most of the time. She came off as uninspired which was heart-breaking considering how creative we know she can be.

• Sixth place: Tshedi (Limpopo): again, another uninspired choirmaster. If you list the Top 10 South African female vocalists today you can’t omit Tshedi from the list. In fact, while Nhlanhla Nciza may be riding on the success of Mafikizolo’s album Reunited, she can’t sing as well as Tshedi does, especially in the Malaika environment. But, sadly, that doesn’t translate into Tshedi having organisational skills and knowing how to reinterpret songs.

• Fifth Place: Ziyon (Western Cape): I’m sure Ziyon is a cool dude. He has an amazing voice and his group Liquideep have given us some amazing music over the years. However, his meek personality seemed to be a handicap.

He really did not instill confidence in his choir and it often showed on their performances. This explains why they had so many “bottom two” bouts.

To say that he did better than HHP in that face-off that saw the rapper exit the show would be a lie, but judges slammed the gavel down and Jabbaman had to go.

• Fourth Place: Moneoa (Mpumalanga): okay, so tomatoes will probably be thrown my way for saying this, but honestly, this is as far as my favourite R&B singer should have gone. She showed that being a newbie in the industry had nothing to do with her creativity, but on a bad night, she really missed the mark.

• Third Place: Robbie Malinga (KZN): yes, fact, Durban rocks. We know, but let us not even try to imply that the Durban vote translates into what the nation likes. Malinga is a master musician who, week-in and week-out, did wonders, but there were times when the judges, especially Malope and Mkhize, were lenient and it smacked of out-of-the-show loyalty.

Perhaps because Mdoda does not plan to record an album with Malinga, she could bluntly say what she felt when he did not have a powerful presentation.

• Second Place: HHP (Free State): one bad week cost this man all he had done and that was unfair.

If you listen to HHP’s music you realise that he has a great ear for melody and he brought that to his choir. Having a choral background (we even met his choirmistress mother), it was obvious he had a deeper understanding of what was expected of him.

• First Place: Shugasmakx (Gauteng): forget everything he did during the season and zoom in on the last performance. The rapper merged Sello Twala’s We Miss You, Manelo and Papa Stop the War in a goosebump-raising way.

His attention to detail not only saw him wear a Madiba shirt, but he bid the icon farewell at the end of the performance, completing the story of the life and times (and death) of Nelson Mandela. All in one song.

Yet that was just another Sunday offering from the rapper explaining why he’d never been in the bottom two.

When we were leaving the venue, someone said something that stayed with me: “If we select these teams based on location, who are we expecting to vote for Gauteng? Aren’t we all from else-where and all head to Egoli for the shiny metal?” Just a thought.


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