Through her rendition of Andra Day’s popular neoclassic soul hit, Rise Up, Roshdene Sampson (22) from De Doorns, indeed rose as the winner of the Agri’s Got Talent (AGT) showcase this year.
There may have been no live audience, no dramatic lighting and no stage to sing on in the first ever socially-distant AGT showcase. But Sampson, armed with that voice and belly-stirring and natural stage presence still wowed judges and voters with her outstanding performance.
Her journey into the competition was nothing short of special either. Sampson’s mother, Maria sneakily entered her into the annual talent showcase. Without her knowledge, Sampson senior secretly recorded her daughter singing and sent that very clip in for submission.
Weeks later she would receive a call from competition representatives notifying her that she had made it into the top ten.
Born and bred In De Doorns in the Cape Winelands of the Western Cape, Sampson began her journey as a farm worker on Sandhoek, a table grape farm, in 2016 as a seasonal worker.
Her hard-working candour, however, saw her quickly rise to a permanent position on the farm. “My employers are still blown away by my passion and sense of responsibility, most likely because I am so young,” she says jokingly.
Very early on in the competition Sampson believed that the AGT showcase would be the beginning of her dreams coming true. And she was right! “I was so shocked! I am shocked, I cant believe it,” an overwhelmed Sampson said in a livestream announcing her as winner.
Agri’s Got Talent is a social initiative that celebrates the hidden talents of the people who put food on our tables. The title comes with a cash prize, a paid recording studio session as well as an exclusive training workshop with ProCare on their farm of employment.
Also, the top ten were already given smartphones to document their own journeys through video storytelling.
Each finalist has undergone voice training, media training, received a make-over and took part in life skills training sessions.
Sampson’s fellow contenders include workers in the citrus, deciduous fruit, wine and table grape industries vying for the coveted Agri’s Got Talent throne.
Food For Mzansi caught up with Sampson shortly after her win:
Congratulations are definitely in order, Roshdene. The most obvious question on all our lips is did you at all expect the win?
I did expect it later in the competition, in a way. There is always a bit of doubt. But I tried to focus less on winning the competition and more on the experience and special times with the other contestants.
What has been the highlight of being crowned the winner of AGT 2020?
The fact that although I am a farm worker and not in the music industry yet, my voice was heard and I am being seen as a talented singer. I also loved that I met so many other talented singers and that I could learn from them as well. I am very thankful.
You have become a celebrity overnight in the agri-world. What has been the response from your co-workers?
They are very proud and happy with me. It is wonderful to have so many people believe in me.
In your journey what challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
In 2012 I was in the running to be chosen as a student at Oprah Winfrey’s school. We were on our way to the final exam venue when we got lost and I missed the exam. It was very difficult for me to overcome the disappointment and it took me a while to gain self-confidence again and to believe there are opportunities in life for me out there. AGT is the first big opportunity that came my way. During the competition we were constantly challenged to think differently about music and pushed to learn, and through the competition I am now a better singer.
Looking to the future, what can we expect from you?
I am going to work hard and take all the opportunities that will come my way after winning AGT to carve myself a singing career.