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‘I didn’t expect to win’ — Zethe on winning Vodacom NXT LVL

2017-12-08 10:06
PHOTO: Vodacom Twitter

She dedicated her final performance in the Vodacom NXT LVL competition to her father, who she lost just a week before she was crowned the first winner.

Zethembiso Mdletshe (24), better known as Zethe, buried her father last Saturday before taking a flight to Johannesburg on Sunday for the finale on Wednesday.

How did she manage to put her grief aside and make the show go on? “I had to be brave and do it,” she says. “I didn’t want to bring it up because I didn’t want people to pity me.”

She says even though her parents were divorced, losing her father was tough. “I was closer to my mother than I was to my dad. But I cried, and now that the show is over, I am now going to deal with it and grieve.” For 10 weeks, the Afro-soul jazz musician was in fifth position on the leader board.

Even though some people on social media came to her defence whenever she was scored low by the mentors compared to the other contestants, Zethe was a bit of an underdog.

This is why many were surprised when she snatched the title from the likes of rapper Jason ‘Jesse Reignz’ Johnson, who was expected to win, Thamsanqa ‘Thami’ Mathonsi, Theophilus ‘Theo’ Seretse and Music 97 – a band made up of bassist Marcus Mocane, pianist and vocalist Andy Keys, vocalist Khanyi and drummer Thabo Mnisi.

The KZN-born singer admits that she didn’t expect to win the competition.

“Even when they were counting down, I thought something was wrong.

I didn’t expect myself to win,” she says. But campaigning at different churches and putting posters up back home really helped, as did the fans who grew as the show progressed.

“There were a lot of things that happened on the show that made people want to vote for me,” she says.

In a previous interview with TshisaLIVE, Zethe said: “Everyone thinks that I was scored harshly, and a part of me also thinks that, but the panel is made of people who may not understand my sound or are not in the same genre as me.”

The show’s mentors included Euphonik, Big Nuz, DJ Zinhle, Riky Rick and Danny K. Zethe says she is still thinking about the wisest way to spend the R100 000 that is included in the R1-million worth of prizes.

And her focus is now on music and modelling, which she also loves.