Cala songbird in ‘Idols’ top 16

Chris Hani district’s very own Ithana-Anathi Conjwa made it through the gruelling phase of South Africa’s popular talent search competition, Idols SA season 17, and is now among 16 other contestants who are eager to become the next ‘Idol’.

The 23-year-old Cala-born singer and performer secured her spot after a challenging round of theatre week where 30 other contestants performed in the hope of making it to the live shows. In her interview with The Rep, Conjwa described the ‘surreal’ experience as her lifelong dream which had ultimately became a reality.

Theatre week was hard. I don’t think I have had to fight as hard as I did in my entire life. However, I am grateful for the experience because I believe it has helped me grow. I have more confidence in myself – much more than I did before. This is a show I have always dreamt of being a part of and to have made it this far in the competition is such an incredible blessing for me. Sometimes I have to take a moment to remind myself that it is real and that it is actually happening.”

Conjwa, who was involved in a number of productions during her varsity days, moved to Johannesburg where she pursued a BA in live performance (music) qualification at AFDA University.

She founded a theatre company with four young women called Intsusa, which bagged two accolades for their showcase at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The group also won best stage piece at the International Youth Arts Festival in Kingston, UK. She continued to feature at the Comic Choice awards as a performer and was also invited to be a part of The Centre For The Less Good Idea, season 7. Conjwa has also explored the world of pageantry when she entered Miss Soweto 2020 and became first princess. Passion Drives Us, a YouTube sensation a capella group that she joined at varsity, was working to release its first EP.

On why she decided to enter the television show, Conjwa said: “I entered Idols this year because I really wanted to push myself and get out of my comfort zone. I never thought I was ready for it until this year. I truly believe that being on Idols is going to help me grow as an artist and individual. Having the honour of working with the amazing Idols team has always been something I dreamt of, and now I get to work and learn from them,” she said.

She believes that she is the next SA Idol because she brings a unique tone, sound and performance style to the table.

“Being in the top 16 feels amazing, it is such a big accomplishment for me. More than anything, it is such a great honour, I feel so blessed to be here. This opportunity solidified my decision to pursue music full time. It validated a lot of fears I had about being a freelance artist. It made me feel I am good enough. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am beyond blessed,” she said.