Pop Idol Khaya Mthethwa during his arrival at Durban International Airport.Picture Zanele Zulu,11/10/2012

“Idols” winner Khaya Mthethwa has touched millions of hearts and won praise from all quarters for his soulful voice and abundant talent, but probably never expected to be likened to Nelson Mandela, by no less a fan than Thobeka Madiba-Zuma, one of SA’s first ladies.

Madiba-Zuma was among hundreds of supporters and pupils from his former schools Escombe Primary and Highway Christian Academy who welcomed the singer at King Shaka International Airport on Thursday when he returned to Durban for the first time since winning the reality TV contest last week.

Madiba-Zuma likened Mthethwa – who became the first black Idol – to Nelson Mandela, who became the first black president in 1994, before urging fans to support the Umlazi-born star by buying authentic music.

“Do not buy pirated music, allow him to reap the benefits of his talents which he has been blessed with by God,” she said to cheers.

However, Mthethwa later said at a press conference that he would have preferred it if his achievement was less about being black and more about him being the first Durban Idol.

He also said he was not concerned about “Idols” judges Unathi Msengana and Gareth Cliff being barred from interviewing him on their SABC breakfast radio shows.

“It does not concern me, I was on their evening show [with Metro FM’s Criselda Kananda] that same day and the mood was great,” he said, before adding that he felt his relationship with the public broadcaster was good.

Mthethwa also revealed that there was a strong possibility he could record his now famous rendition of US rapper Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” on his debut album.


Voting results showed Mthethwa had been the favourite throughout the 10 weeks of voting. In the final, he gained 80 percent of the votes.

The newly crowned Idol’s father, Pastor Themba, who was star-struck by the army of bodyguards and police guarding his son, said: “I can’t believe he is my son,” before his eyes filled with the glow of tears.

He had earlier told the Daily News that Khaya’s plans for this year had not included auditioning for the singing competition.

He said the original plan was for Khaya to record a solo gospel album away from the spotlight of the Joyous Celebration group.

“I appreciate the way in which he has involved us as his family in everything he has done. The decision to join go to “Idols” was up to us,” he said.

M-Net spokeswoman Lani Lombard said the Idol would be present at a victory parade today at the City Hall.

On Saturday he would have a 9am autograph-signing session at uMlazi Mega City and perform at Ballito Beach at 1pm. He will perform at uShaka Marine World on Sunday evening at 6pm.

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