Agri’s Got Talent 2020 ready to showcase more hidden voices

Pictured in action are the top three winners of the 2019 AGT competition, (from left) Nonkululeko Sambo, Magdalene Philander, and Zenobia Pietersen. Photo: Supplied

When 24-year-old Nonkululeko Sambo advises you to “believe in your dreams, and do not ever limit yourself,” you can believe her.

Sambo is an agri worker from Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, and is the winner of the 2019 Agri’s Got Talent (AGT) show. She says the annual talent drive made a big difference in her life.

“The competition built me and gave me new skills,” Sambo says. Describing herself as “a little bit famous,” Sambo now encourages other agri workers to enter the 2020 competition.

AGT gives general farmworkers in the fruit and wine industry a platform to showcase their hidden talents to the rest of the community.

Established in 2014, AGT is the brainchild of Anton Rabe, the executive director of fruit industry commodity organisation Hortgro.

“The AGT project gives fruit and wine industry workers a platform to showcase their musical gifts while developing skills with which they can make a difference in their communities,” says Rabe.

“The competition is an example of the multi-dimensional nature of agriculture and rural communities as a whole and the contribution that this sector can make to unlock the potential of this country,” says Rabe.

The competition is supported by the Vinpro Foundation, Hortgro and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. This year the competition will run from September 2020, and the winner will be announced on 9 October 2020.

The second runner-up in last year’s competition, Magdalene Philander (24), lives with her supportive grandparents in Worcester in the Western Cape. Her cousin motivated her to enter the show.

Philander echoes Sambo’s sentiments: “Just because you work on a farm does not mean that you should look down on yourself. You are so much more, and you should always chase your dreams, no matter what.”

Talent competition takes to the road

This year, given the limitations presented by covid-19, the competition will be in roadshow format, says Thea van Zyl, AGT event coordinator.

“In the past, we provided transport to Paarl (in the Western Cape) and accommodation, should finalists be from out of town, but this year we will visit directly to the farms while observing social distancing.” Smartphones will also be given to finalists to document their experience.

Apart from being equipped with leadership and interpersonal training, finalists get extensive vocal training from vocal coach Frieda van den Heever.

This year the winner of AGT will receive a cash prize of R5000 and will be given a chance to record a few of their songs, courtesy of Traxtudio Boland. They will also get a full makeover and a new wardrobe. For more details on how to enter the competition visit their website.