The Final Cut SA Grand Finale

The Final Cut SA announces winners

The SABC is all about discovering new talent and creating a stage for them and last night was no exception.

Last night we witnessed an exhilarating finale of SABC 3’s very own reality show The Final Cut SA 2017 where new raw talent was discovered and for them to have one ultimate goal: they had to have had the need to act on SABC. In the final challenge - Contestants were tasked with performing an iconic scene from Uzalo. Last night is where all dreams became a reality. This was the night where one male and one female was crowned the ultimate winner of The Final Cut SA 2017.

Viewers followed the journey, they knew the story, and they’ve seen the joys and the tears. It started with thousands of hopefuls, went down to 14 and then they were down to the final 4. 13 weeks ago after a country wide search our judges Karin Van Der Laag, Mmabatho Montsho and Thabang Moleya brought 14 contestants to Johannesburg and put them through melodramatic acting challenges on some of the most iconic shows on SABC television. Week after week, two unlucky contestants found themselves in the bottom two.

They were systematically eliminated until four remained to battle it out for the coveted prize of a part in one of SABC’s home of dramas. Who will be crowned the winners of The Final Cut SA Season 1? Will it be Asanda Hanabe, Nasiphi Ntabeni, Cebo Zikhali or Sandile Dladla. For two of them this was where the journey ended.

Contestants were on the set of Uzalo in KZN where the finale took place. The four finalists have high expectations of themselves and we knew the judges had high expectations of each and every one of them.

Contestants have come a long way to be here in the finale and we got to see some of the scenes that they were put through to make it to the top four.

So what were the Judges expectations: “Our two male actors will face a female professional actress from Uzalo and our two female actresses will face a professional male actor from Uzalo. It’s going to be exciting to see how our contestants cope with the professionals,” said Karin Van der Laag.

Mmabatho Montsho had this to say, “I’m hoping all our contestants bring their “A” game because it’s do or die today”

Contestants were extremely nervous as you would expect but gave it their all. They were firstly given a tour of the set before going into action.

At last it went down. Our four finalists were paired with the talented actors from Uzalo. First up were the two male contestants. “Gentleman today you are working with the genuine article, the real stuff, said Lawrence Maleka host of The Final Cut SA. Continuing, “The same rules still apply.  You get two takes - one rehearsal and one as your final output. You have to put your best foot forward.”

Menga Nhlabathi director of Uzalo takes the contestants through the scene and they go with for a quick rehearsal before the actual take. As always the judges watch the performances from the side-lines and this is where the scoring is done.

The professional actors firstly demonstrate to the contestants how the performance is done before they get to do their rehearsal and then the final take.  It was a good performances by both the contests who completed their scenes but where they good enough to impress the judges.

Then it was our ladies turns and things got deadly serious… The contestants are explained the scene and taken through the actual scene by the professional actors before they get to do their takes.

“I’m impressed especially with the ladies. I think there’s a bright future for them and the industry is getting two talented actresses coming in. With the guys also, there is a bit of work that needs to be done but I’m very optimistic for the industry to be getting such talent,” shared Menga Nhlabathi, Director of Uzalo on his thoughts on the contestants’ performances.

And when prompted for a favorite, he added, “If I had to pick a favorite I’d struggle with the task. It’s very hard because they were all good. They were all present, they all did their research and you could see there was some preparation put into their performances. So No, I couldn’t.”

Then it was back to the elimination studio where someone’s fate would be decided on.  13 weeks of hard work is about to pay off for two of the lucky contestants. The judge’s scores are based on how contestants interpret their brief in terms of physicality, delivery, range and authenticity. Judges found that contestants came out fighting for their positions with very interesting and surprising performances. The Judges where excited for the winners saying it felt like a celebration more than anything else and that it felt like each and every one of these contestants can be celebrated. It wasn’t an easy decision but all of them are special.

Finally it was time for the contestants to face the judges, who gave individual feedback to the contestants.

The extraordinary and very talented Director Nthabiseng Tau was the special guest that received the honour of announcing the winner of The Final Cut SA 2017. She explained the reason why she was there, “Because the winners will win a role on Isidingo. So we’ve been watching your journey quite closely and I must say I’m quite impressed. If this is what we will be getting on Isidingo, we are exceptionally lucky.”

Lastly it was time to make the announcement and once again they started with the gentleman and Nthabiseng announced the first male winner of The Final Cut SA 2017. And ultimately it was Cebo Zikhali from Johannesburg who won.

“Being written into Isidingo means the world to me. I’ve worked hard for this, so being able to get to this point means it’s like reaping the rewards. So yes I’m really excited,” said a nervous but also thrilled Cebo Zikhali

Then Nthabiseng declared the female winner who would be joining Isidingo as Nasiphi Ntabeni from East London. Nasiphi dropped to her knees and broke down in tears.  A tearful Nasiphi had this to say about her win, “This goes to my aunty who raised me with nothing. She worked very hard for me and sold vegetables just for us to go to school. I was the first person to get a higher education. She would organise money for me just to buy food and do whatever I need just to feel like the other kids in school.”

For more information, interviews and pictures, please contact the SABC 3 Publicity department.

Issued by

Doulha Domingo

Publicity Coordinator: SABC 3

Tel. (011) 714 6269


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