Skhumba, Sithelo Shozi, Somizi Mhlongo and J’Something revealed as the detectives for ‘The Masked Singer SA’

Skhumba, Sithelo Shozi, Somizi Mhlongo and J’Something on set for “The Masked Singer SA”. Picture: Instagram

Skhumba, Sithelo Shozi, Somizi Mhlongo and J’Something on set for “The Masked Singer SA”. Picture: Instagram

Published Apr 5, 2023


Reality TV viewers are in for a treat as the local version of the international hit show “The Masked Singer” will soon debut on Mzansi screens.

It was last August when seasoned TV and radio broadcaster Anele Mdoda revealed that her production company, Rose and Oaks, which she co-owns with Frankie du Toit and Paul Buys, had obtained the licence for the format.

Now the project, which has been four years in the making, is in production with the panel of detectives and the host revealed.

Seasoned comedian, actor and presenter Mpho Modikoane, popularly known as Mpho Popps, will take the reins as host, ensuring that the laughter does not stop.

Popps shared that he was super excited to be the host of the show and that “it was the biggest adventure” he has ever embarked on.

The detectives are multi-award-winning musician J’Something, DJ and social media influencer Sithelo Shozi, TV and radio personality Somizi Mhlongo and comedian and radio and TV presenter Skhumba Hlophe.

South Africa will get to see the detectives rack their brains trying to figure out which A-list celebrity is behind the masks when the show airs on S3, with repeats on S1.

“The Masked Singer“ is a singing competition where performers are celebrities wearing elaborate head-to-toe costumes to conceal their identities from the host, panellists, audience and other contestants.

The panellists are not judges, which is something Mhlongo stressed, as he was clearly aware that the public would have plenty to say about him being on another judging panel. He is currently a judge on “Idols SA”.

“We are not judges, we are detectives, we are just like the audiences but just have voices. We are in the dark, just like the audience and trying to figure out who is behind the mask, just like the audience,” said Mhlongo.

Even J’Something initially thought it was about singing, similar to “Idols”, but learnt it’s more like a detective game.

“I thought it had a lot to do with the singing and performing but it’s so much more. We’ve seen that some of the masks that are doing really well, just know how to play the game, engaging with the audience and hiding your identity really well.”

Mdoda has a contact list that features almost all of the who’s who in the industry and if she doesn’t have it she can probably get it in less than five minutes.

This is evident in her getting MiCasa frontman J’Something to come on board after his management said he was unavailable as he would be touring in Portugal during the shoot dates.

She later bumped into the musician at a gig and mentioned to him how she had wanted him to be a part of the project but was told about the scheduling conflicts.

After hearing what the project entailed, J’Something cancelled those plans.

Mdoda got her first choices for the show and revealed that the celebrities behind the mask range from politicians to actors, comedians and are all proper A-listers.

Good luck guessing who’s behind the mask – even with the clues it’s not an easy guess.

Hlophe shared that they are kept in complete darkness and have absolutely no interaction with the talent.

“You feel like you're in jail, but you’re enjoying this jail time. Our windows are dark, we don’t even know who is here. Every time the mask comes off, you’re like, ‘how did I miss this person’.”

He joked about being completely stunned about one of the mask reveals, as it was a friend he had recently seen and they made no mention of being on the show.

Secrecy is a key element to “The Masked Singer SA”. Shozi joked that it was the hardest secret to keep, other than her three pregnancies, but it was so well worth it.

This is the DJ’s official debut onto mainstream television. She appears on S3’s “Open Up New World” commercial, which Mdoda showed love to on Twitter, prior to the announcement, which was a hint no one saw.

Shozi shared that she was excited for the public to get to know who she really is beyond what they see on social media.

“What I’ve loved about the show is that it’s given me a platform to share who I really am. I actually have something in between these two ears, I don’t just take pictures every day, I actually do speak.

“This has been a great way for me to start, this is my first big gig and it’s huge,” said Shozi.

Mdoda shared that she picked Shozi because she is someone she has been noticing her making moves on social media and saw how magnetic she was and loved how she always says what’s on her mind.

The seasoned presenter wanted to give Shozi the platform in order to help her grow within the industry.

At the press conference, held at the show's studios, executive producer Mdoda and Du Toit shared a bit about how the show came all together.

Rose and Oaks initially obtained the licence for the show in 2020 but Covid happened. They briefly lost the licence, had to pay a lot of money and eventually got it back.

This is the second project under Rose and Oaks. They also produced “Ludik”, an explosive six-episode series on Netflix.

Du Toit and Buys spent time on the production in Los Angeles learning all the tricks of the trade behind the production at “The Masked Singer SA”.

“The Masked Singer SA” was one of the first projects that Mdoda wanted to do with Primedia Broadcasting after inking a five-year contract with music radio station 947.

The show is expected to be on S3 and S1 later this year.