Amped Africa is opening up the South African entertainment industry; one teenager at a time and its nothing like you've seen before.
On Wednesday, children from 200 schools across Gauteng brought Ruimsig to life and showed off their talent in the talent show round of the competition.
Amped is a youth edutainment programme launched in 2016 to give high school pupils a head start in the industry, which has, until now, not given platform to amateur artists from townships. The children have to be enrolled at a school to qualify.
Although it aims to include more categories in the future, the programme currently focuses on presenting, vocals and dance.
Over nine months, pupils go through various phases on the programme, which include pre-auditions, talent show auditions, masterclass workshops as well as the Amped Festival.
The programme is the brainchild of U.S.-born music mogul and entertainment expert, Anthony Morgan who is also the founder and CEO of Amplify Africa.
Speaking to HuffPost SA on Wednesday, Morgan said he started Amped following calls by young artists for him to manage and teach them the ropes of the industry.
He said he realised there was a need to educate young people about the ins and outs of the business of entertainment.
"This programme targets high school kids under the age of 19 years who are interested in a career in entertainment. We want to open them up to the possibilities and opportunities that exist within the industry. For those pupils who want to work behind the scenes, we have a programme called Amped Leaders where they are taught the business side of entertainment including artist management and events production," said Morgan.
Over 20,000 children entered the pre-auditions during the first round of the competition earlier this year.
The number was filtered down to 1,500 pupils, who then took part in this week's talent shows.
Five hundred children will go through to the next round and attend a two-day workshop where they will be given extensive individualised training and coaching. The top 100 will be selected after the camp.
To qualify for the top 10, pupils in the top 100 will get to shoot a video that will be uploaded online for members of the public to vote. Every pupil in the top 10 of the competition will qualify for a prize.
They are also placed in their industry of choice to gain practical experience in their chosen industry.
Amped has partnered with SABC1, which will broadcast the finale. Aspiring presenters from the top 10 will stand a chance work at the channel.
World-renowned fashion mogul and designer, David Tlale, through his newly launched programme The Intern SA, will dress the finalists on the road to the finale.
Pearls of wisdom
On Wednesday, Tlale told the children a bit about his difficult time growing up, and what he had to overcome to eventually be successful.
Tlale encouraged the aspiring entertainers to find their calling.
"Once you have found what makes you want to conquer the world. That dream that just gets you going, set yourself a goal and then work at it. I believe that if you want something, make a decision and then go get it. Be willing to build from the ground up," said Tlale.
Also addressing the pupils, Morgan said young people should rather aim to write their own stories than try to copy other artists.
Some of Morgan's accolades include his work with Brian McKnight, Lionel Ritchie, Babyface, Sylvester Stallone and Bobby Brown.
He has also worked with South African producer, LeboM in the production of the hit musical of the Disney movie, "The Lion King".
Morgan told the children that regardless of how successful they became in life, they must stay humble.
"Listening is important in the business of entertainment. No matter how great you are, you must always listen and take advice," said Morgan.
Sfundo Prince, a 17-year-old Soweto-born rapper, performed at Wednesday's talent show.
He told HuffPost SA that winning Amped did not only give him fame, but also opened doors for him.
"I am currently in studio with Mr Morgan and he is helping me come up with some great music to which I am eternally grateful," he said.
The Amped Fest(ival), which is the finale for the competition, promises to be the hottest event for youngsters under 19 years of age.
It also promises a line-up of South African stars as well as an American R&B star.
The dates for the event are yet to be made public.Suggest a correction