• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

South Africa's 'Idols' Crowns First Black Winner (Video)

Singer Khaya Mthethwa's win breaks a seven season-long trend for a country still emerging from the apartheid system.

Khaya Mthethwa Idols screen grab 2 L

LONDON – Singer Khaya Mthethwa became South Africa's first black contestant to win the country's version of American Idol. 

Although the show simply titled Idols is in its eighth season, and South Africa's population is 80 percent black, the program is carried on a subscription channel, so voting has favored the white middle class, according to a previous report in The Guardian

PHOTOS: An 'American Idol' to 'X Factor' Timeline 

Mthethwa's win on Idols hit the headlines in a big way on Monday. The country is still emerging from a history of separating the races under the apartheid system and the shadow of the system lingers long. Also worth noting, broadcaster M-Net had even been accused of racism and vote-rigging previously.

At an early audition for the show, Mthethwa (known colloquially as Khaya) sang a slowed-down rendition of Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" that blew the judges away (see a performance below). He went on to compete week after week with such Idol staples as Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You."  

VIDEO: 'American Idol' Class Picture: One-on-One Interviews with the Alums

Mthethwa's win is being taken in some quarters as a sign that Idols' ambitions to democratize musical taste is working. But most reports, like this one in the New York Times, are simply wondering aloud as to why it's taken so long for a black singer to win.

Whatever the circumstances, the majority of South Africa has been celebrating Khaya's win and toasting to his success. Here here!

Watch a video of Khaya singing "Super Bass" below:

Twitter: @Idol_Worship