First, there was America’s Got Talent. But Simon Cowell’s SYCHtv company now has “Got Talent” shows in over 70 countries! That’s a lot – although there’s clearly talent all over the world.
This year, East Africa got a show of its own – East Africa’s Got Talent (EAGT). It’s broadcast across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda and the very first winners were announced on October 6, 2019.
The champions are a Ugandan brother and sister singing duo known simply as Ezekiel and Esther.
Their incredible voices blew away viewers – not only for their vocal range but their sheer power. And it turns out talent runs in the family. Their mother Julie Mutesasira is a popular gospel singer (dad is a pastor).
Their song choice for the finale was a brave one as the pair belted out a song by two of the most dynamic singers in pop history. They chose Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey’s “When You Believe,” the theme song to the 1998 animated film The Prince of Egypt. (It’s a song that’s back in the headlines these days as Carey addresses – and denies – any feud with the late Houston during recording.
Ezekiel surprised viewers when he said there was no vocal coach behind his powerful voice, not even their mother:
“I have not had any trainer or vocal training, I just listen to different musicians singing and then practice with my sister. I sing Gospel and inspirational music. I want to be a professional musician, whose music impacts lives.”
Ugandans had a good chance of winning the prize money since they had 3 of the show’s 6 finalists, but at-home voters, as well as judges Vanessa Mdee, Jeff Koinange, Gaetano Kagwa, and Makeda Mahadeo, were charmed and impressed by the duo’s talent.
But it’s more than their win that’s making headlines – it’s what they plan to do with the prize money.
11-year-old Ezekiel and 14-year-old Esther Mutesasira were presented with a check at the show’s finale in Nairobi, Kenya for $50,000 USD (or a little over 5 million Kenyan shillings).
Instead of keeping the money for themselves, the pair have announced that they will use it to build a home for disabled and orphaned children in their home country.
“I will first give tithe to God, build a home for the disabled and orphaned children and use the remaining money to process the required travel documents to Canada. I want to visit my mother.”
Even before they won the competition, the duo knew what they would do with their winnings. Ezekiel told interviewers prior to the finale that they planned to help those with few resources:
“We are planning with our parents to build an orphanage to help homeless children. We also want to support those who are talented but don’t have money to build their talents.”
Their mother Julie Mutesasira said after the show:
“My children you have made Uganda so proud and East Africa at large. Thank you, everyone, for your support. You have made me a proud mother.”
The two are now traveling around the country for interviews, but are still focused on their school work as well.
Be sure to scroll down below to see Ezekiel and Esther’s winning performance at the EAGT finale earlier this month.
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