Sonwabile Mekuto beat nine others in the competition hosted by the College of Magic at Bergvliet High School recently.
Participants were tested on their showmanship, presentation, technique, originality and entertainment value.
“I was very excited. I felt like finally my hard work was paying off,” he said.
The Dr Nelson R Mandela High School matric pupil said the month had been a challenging one between preparing for exams and practising for the competition.
“I gave myself the mental power by telling myself, I did this before, why can’t I do this again?
“The judges loved me and I won,” he said.
Mekuto said he had wanted to be a magician from the age of 12.
“Someone performed magic at my school and it mesmerised me. I felt like I wanted to do that,” he said.
But it was only at the age of 15, when a friend from Khayelitsha told him about the College of Magic, that he took a trip to Claremont to register himself.
“The school accepted me and got someone to sponsor my courses,” said Mekuto.
He said magic had saved him from getting sucked into “bad influences” in his community.
“Crossroads has one of the highest crime rates in the country. It is not easy for a child to live there, the place can easily corrupt you. But magic kept me busy and off the streets,” said Mekuto.
In addition to the title and the opportunity to attend international magical events, Mekuto walked away with a coveted berth for a magic cruise on board the MSC Sinfonia in March next year.
He said his dream was to be a full-time magician.
“I want to be a star,” he said.
“I don’t just perform, my act involves miming, clowning and juggling. It’s an art that takes hours of practice and is a special gift,” said Mekuto.
College director David Gore said: “We are incredibly proud of our contestants and winners and we look forward to their future magical feats.”