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Limpopo villagers cannot wait to welcome their Idols SA hero

Limpopo villagers cannot wait to welcome their Idols SA hero
Thapelo Molomo during his Top 10 Performance at Heartfelt Arena, Pretoria, in September. (Photo: Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images)

Compassionate policeman Thapelo Molomo’s victory has inspired young and old in his rural home district. The winning singer is being given a winner’s welcome.

The usually sleepy village of Diretsaneng, situated 94km from Mokopane in the Waterberg district of Limpopo, is buzzing with excitement as residents await the return of their son and conquering hero – singer Thapelo Molomo, who won the Idols SA competition on 13 November.

Excited elders are sharpening their knives and axes after royals from the Bakenberg Royal Council made it known that an ox will be sacrificed to welcome Molomo back home next weekend. The sacrificing of a beast is the highest honour bestowed on a subject of the traditional authority.

“The moment the royal house received a letter stating that Thapelo is a singer of note and that he went to this competition, we immediately rallied our support behind him,” said a proud Kgoši Madumetja Langa.

It was decided after meeting with headmen and chiefs that a homecoming fit for a king would best suit their son of the soil, Langa added. “We are true to our roots and so we want to ensure that his homecoming event includes all the traditional procedures we are accustomed to, as we know there is no ceremony without the slaughtering of a bull.”

Policeman turns celeb

Molomo, a warrant officer in the South African Police Service (SAPS) in North West, claimed the title of Idols SA’s 18th season winner in Pretoria. The ceremony was attended by Minister of Police Bheki Cele.

Langa said the royal council would work hand in hand with the Limpopo Department of Sport, Arts and Culture for all residents in nearby villages to get a chance to celebrate with Molomo. Department spokesperson Kenny Mathivha said that even though a final date was yet to be confirmed, there would be a tour centralised around the people of Mokopane. It would take place over three days and include a breakfast with Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha.

“The programme will follow a plan similar to that of Miss South Africa and Banyana Banyana,” said Mathivha.

“We are planning for a mini festival in Diretsaneng, where three young artists will share a stage with Thapelo. This is meant to empower the youth and inspire locals. Everything is planned for him to enjoy his time with his family and his people.”

Molomo’s father, Malesela Molomo, said neighbours and the entire village had not stopped dropping by at the family home to congratulate them.

“We are so excited to be with him here at home that our very excitement is turning into impatience,” Malesela said.


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The SAPS trauma counsellor, who’s been trying to keep up with mounting media engagements and scheduled public appearances, said his win followed years of multitasking and loyalty to the craft.

“I have always found a way to balance my work [in SAPS] and the music. I would go to work on weekdays and designate gigs for the weekend,” Molomo said.

Molomo, a University of Venda psychology graduate, believes the wellbeing of people takes precedence over everything else, which is why he intends to continue his work in the police service.

“It fulfils me so much more, especially in the SAPS, because police officials go through a lot of trauma. I just knew that this is the line of career that I needed to get in and I went to varsity for it.

“It gives me great pleasure to see that what I studied brings about change in the instance of the SAPS,” he added.

Molomo said he listened to his inner voice, which constantly whispered that he should enter Idols SA this year. His decision has proven to be rewarding as the singer – whose commanding voice has South Africa eating out of the palm of his hand – walks away with a R1-million cash prize, a sponsored vehicle, a R100,000 clothing voucher, musical gear worth R85,000 and a recording deal with Kalawa Jazmee Records.

Thapelo Molomo being declared the Idols SA winner. (Photo: Facebook)

Youthful hope to make it big

Youths from Molomo’s rural village say his triumph has given them hope that they can also make it big. Reacting to the news of his victory, residents young and old from villages including Pudi ya Kgopa, Matlaba and Basterpad said they were ready to welcome him with open arms.

Nkgopotje Lamola, who has dreams of becoming a therapist in the future, thanked Molomo for “making our small town unite with pride”.

Local radio broadcaster Huggy Lebogo said: “We have been ridiculed for still using donkey carts and we face service delivery issues, but this win sends a strong message of inspiration to us all.”

Molomo, the father of a five-month-old baby girl, urged everyone with a dream to pursue it until it comes to fruition. “It’s possible. If Thapelo could do it, you can do it too, even if you are all the way from the dusty villages of Mokopane to the world,” he said.

Among his future plans are investing his winnings in property and entering the e-hailing transport market.

Inspiring others for change

Cele acknowledged Molomo’s efforts in helping police officers to work through their psychosocial challenges.

“He has illustrated to thousands of officers that hard work, determination and perseverance [are] the foundation of any successful human being. We are proud of him and wish him all the best,” Cele said.

The Limpopo Department of Sport, Arts and Culture was planning a homecoming event for Molomo in Mokopane this weekend. “We congratulate Thapelo, the son of Limpopo, for a deserved win,” said MEC Nakedi Sibanda-Kekana. “He has talent and ably showed the rest of South Africa that he deserves the crown.

“We had no doubt that Thapelo [would] bring the win home. That’s why we started preparing for his homecoming as early as two weeks ago, when it became apparent that we [would] have a winner at the Idols.”

Music fans can expect to see Molomo at the Mapungubwe Arts Festival in Polokwane in December. DM168

This article was first published by Mukurukuru Media. It appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.


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