Having dominated our television screens and airwaves in the last year, Thando Thabethe is readying herself to stake a claim as the new queen of the South African entertainment industry tomorrow night.
Call it her debut if you want, Thabethe has scored the coveted feat of hosting the 22nd South African Music Awards (Samas) – the biggest night in the local music industry.
She will hold her own and go pound for pound with flamboyant television personality Somizi Mhlongo at the Durban ICC.
The pair have big shoes to fill following in the footsteps of hosts such as TV/radio maven Bonang Matheba, newly-minted Hollywood superstar Trevor Noah and kwaito exponent Kabelo Mabalane.
An ecstatic Thabethe remains unfazed by it all and states that she cannot wait to take on the challenge.
“I found out about a month ago that I’m going to be hosting with Somizi and I’m very excited about that. The audience can expect plenty of energy from both of us. I have seen the script, it all looks amazing. We officially started rehearsing on Thursday,” Thabethe points out.
“It’s going to be an explosive night. They have a great mix of performances this year, like we have never seen before. It’s going to be a treat for the audience.”
“The theme for this year is futuristic. There are a number of outfit changes. Four or five outfit changes at the moment and they are strictly from Durban-based designers. I’ve seen them and I’m very excited about the looks. I don’t want to give too much away, but there is one white number that is a standout,” Thabethe remarks.
It’s a huge weekend for Thabethe, her Sama gig coincides with her film Mrs Right Guy opening across cinemas nationwide. Directed by Nigerian-born filmmaker Adze Ugah, Thabethe is quite the scene stealer in her supporting role in the romantic comedy opposite leading stars Dineo Moeketsi, Thapelo Mokoena and Lehasa Moloi. “We shot the movie about two years ago; it’s great that South Africans can finally get a glimpse of it this weekend. It’s a great time for South African cinema and I’m glad to be part of it,” she proclaims.
The year 2016 started on a high for Thabethe. Following the departure of 5FM favourite Poppy Ntshongwana in January, Thabethe took over her time slot. In the last five months, listeners have been warming up to her golden voice weekdays from 10am to 1pm on The Thando Thabooty Show.
Then she dazzled viewers on the second episode of the inaugural season of Lip Sync Battle Africa in April.
She maintains that it’s only the beginning. Later in the year Thabethe goes on a search for South Africa’s next big DJ when reality competition show 1’s and 2’s returns for its much-anticipated third season.
“It has been a busy year for me and I’m grateful for it all,” she says.