From travelling two days to make it to his Cape Town audition, making the top 16 cut, down to the top 10 until finally being one of the top 2 remaining contestants of season 14's Idols SA, Thato Makape feels like he has accomplished more than he could have ever imagined.
The 23-year-old rising star Postmasburg didn't bag enough votes for the converted Idols SA title that went to his rival 17-year-old Yanga Sobetwa this past weekend.
But what he has achieved throughout his time on Idols was not just a win for him, but one for his hometown, back in the Northern Cape, he said. "What I am being told is that in the history of Postmasburg, nobody has ever united Postmasburg like I did.
"Stadiums were filled, it was traffic jams all over and Kuruman was also filled with people heading out to the screening on Sunday, just in support of me. I believe they are super proud of me, just as I am proud of myself. I am glad that I have put the place where I was born into light and into recognition," he said.
Thato, who has equally become a household name in just months, said that the journey in the popular singing competition show was a rewarding one, even though he admits to times when he felt he wouldn't make it due to the pressure.
"Sometimes when you have a bad week, and get negative feedback from the judges, at times it feels as if it is all over. But I left it to all the people who have supported me throughout.
"Overall, my experience on the show was super awesome. The exposure that I got, the teachings and the opportunity of just growing as an artist have been my highlights throughout my journey.
"Being on Idols for me is the greatest thing to ever happen to me. Whoever is not grateful to being on that stage is crazy," he said laughing.
And even though he came up second, the avid singer is already gearing up to work.
Thato has not relaxed and is already working on his album, with nine tracks already done.
"Right now, as per the rules I have to give Yanga a chance with her album and music and after a certain period of time, only then can I start releasing my own music, which will be out next year. But in the meantime, I will be busy with gigs starting from this Friday," he said.
His intended album will comprise of 15 tracks, and his preferred genre is Afro-soul.
"I plan to work very hard, to evolve every single year so as to grow myself and my craft. I don't want to fall through the cracks and be a one-hit wonder type artist. I have always known that I am versatile but coming here has shown me the strengths of my versatility, so I am going to make sure that I challenge myself through everything, trying everything until success comes. I am going to make it, "he said.