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Udubs Got Talent: Champion Poet Grace Shai

Udubs Got Talent: Champion Poet Grace Shai

Another exciting year for all the talented performers at the University of the Western Cape, as the third season of Udubs Got talent ended with a deserving champion: second-year student – and first-time entrant – Grace Matsatsi Shai.

This year Udubs Got Talent is in its third season – and it’s bigger than ever. The show showcased the University’s aspiring talent featuring various genres of entertainment such as singing, dance, comedy, poetry, hip hop, and other variety acts. This year’s competition saw the addition of a new category: the battle of the DJs.

Grace has been interested in poetry since she first learned how to write as a child, and her biggest influence – and favourite poet – is Thuli Zuma. “This lady is a breath-taking performer, she is natural and very persuasive, and she can hold the audience’s attention throughout her performances; I love her work.”

As a first-time contestant, she was glad for the support of her loved ones, who were there for her all the way through, as well as for the feedback and motivation of her fellow contestants and judges.

“It was definitely worth taking part in Udubs Got Talent,” says Grace. “From the auditions through every round of the competition, I learned a lot from the other contestants, especially other poets, and the feedback I got from the judges was very helpful. It was very exciting; I felt like my hard work was paying off, and I became very confident as an artist, and specifically as a poet. Most importantly, it encouraged team-building among competitors, and it was fun.”

The competition led her to meet and compete with a whole range of new and different characters, and exposed her to a whole new audience – and exposed the wider campus community to the University’s poetry community as well.

“Besides boosting my confidence, the competition has shown that UWC appreciates poetry; other poets may now have the confidence to enter the competition in the upcoming season, knowing that they have a chance to win the competition, because a poet has done it before.”

Udubs: Purpose as well as Talent

But there’s more to Udubs Got Talent than just dancers, comedians, singers and other various talented students performing for their peers.

“The end goal of Udubs Got Talent is to create a support system for all performing arts students who are excelling academically and lacking in funds,” explains Sibusiso Njeza, UWC ResLife Coordinator: Community Engagement and Cultural Life – a talented performer in his own right, winner of the Best Composer Award at the National Choir Music Awards.

“I would like our community to support our student artists. Let us afford them a platform to perform in our events and also contribute something towards their fees as a way to encourage them to do better.”

This year’s talent search show also took a stand on social issues affecting UWC students by linking it to two campaigns: UWC’s ongoing substance abuse campaign and the #Uncensored campaign against rape and sexual harassment – a topic that has seen some recent outcry from the UWC community and other university communities.

“Rape is a societal challenge that needs all of us to work together without blaming each other,” says Sibusiso. Both students and staff as part of this community are affected by rape – so let us all take responsibility to say NO to rape, and raise awareness on this matter.”

Think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Udubs Got Talent winner? Hoping to amaze your fellow students with your breakdancing, or stand-up comedy, or the ability to play the banjo with your feet? Keep practicing, and show us what you’ve got when Udubs Got Talent Season 4 kicks off in 2017…