Calls For Lawrence Maleka To Replace Minnie And Sizwe On LIVE

Do talent search shows really award true talent or just popularity? This is a question that I have asked myself over and over again when I watch such shows and other shows that have segment like that to add on to their programmes when looking for new presenters or actors.

We have seen it many times when one person wins a talents show and the runner-up ends up having a more lucrative and viable career. Think Idols and how people like Adam Lambert and Jennifer Hudson went on to have bigger careers than the winners from their respective seasons of that show. The latter did not even make it to the top 5 and Simon had even sad that she should not be a singer. 

Here at home, Jamali lost out to Ghetto Lingo on Popstars but went on to become one of the biggest bands we have in this country. Lloyd Cele is now a household name even though he came second to Elvis Blue on Idols. Others from idols who made it big after not winning includes, Sindi Nene and Graeme Watkins. There are many stories like this since the craze of Talent Shows on TV.

This year, SABC 1's variety show Selimathunzi, hosted a nationwide search for a new presenter after Kaos left the show. The competition was marred by controversy when reports surfaced that Lunga Shabalala was chosen to be the presenter long before the auditions started. It was also said that he was auditioned with a selected number of individuals prior to the channel even announcing that they would hold a search for a new presenter. 

I even wrote that when I met him last year at the Cosmo  party he told me that he was moving to Jozi because he has a TV job in the pipeline, whether he was talking about Seli or not, I didn't know.

During the process when 5 potential presenters were selected and the viewers had to vote for a winner, one person beside Lunga stood out. That person was Lawrence Maleka.

Those who did not believe that the rumours about the search being fixed expected that Lawrence was going to win. It became plausible when he eventually ended up in the Top 2 vying for the position against Lunga Shabala.

Lunga triumphed and become the new presenter of Selimathunzi. Social media, bloggers and some viewers cried foul but the Durban model remained the presenter and the channel simply responded that the rumours were false and the people voted for Lunga. 

Lunga is my boi and I have been so proud of his growth since the very first time that I heard of him and the subsequent times that we have met before he became the famous celeb he is now. 

Whether Lunga has brought anything to Selimathunzi still remains to be debatable. The show is still not doing well in terms of rating but I have stated before that placing the blame solely on Lunga would not be fair. The show's time slot changes made a huge impact on its audience share.

He is now one of on 3 celebrities in this country that I actually have conversations with whenever we meet that have nothing to do with either one of us working at the time. Lunga is cool and down-to-earth brotha.

Former Northview High student and current SowetoTV presenter, Lawrence who hails from White City has proven to some that he can present as his stint on Soweto To 10 has garnered the station some positive feedback. While the same can not be said for Lunga. 

Lawrence said this when asked by as what he would bring to Selimathunzi if he wins;
“ I’m the boy next door, I come from the people, the people who pay their TV licence so that they can watch the real thing , Mzanzi stories that they can relate to . I'm the story that says, you can too.”
Sadly, Lunga has had negative reviews for his presenting whilst his looks still continue to make him a firm favourite with fans and the media. I personally have yet to read anything about him that is more about his talent and achievement than his looks.

Shoot a brotha for being hot? I say NOT. If Lunga's good looks is what gets him ahead in life, so what? How many women have had the same advantage in life? With that in mind I always just laugh it off even though I do hope that someday, Lunga could be recognised for something more than just being a good-looking guy. 

Nonetheless, it would appear that SABC 1 could have an opportunity to remedy its folly. With LIVE now set to be looking for a new presenter, there have been calls for them to hire Lawrence. I totally agree.

However, this might be tricky situation for the channel. Firstly, the decision for the presenter has to be agreed upon by the production company and the channel. So this could work both ways in terms of PR.

Scenario 1

SABC 1 can recommend that Urban Brew hire Lawrence in an attempt to smooth out that PR disaster that Selimathunzi was. 

PROBLEM: This could backfire because we will always remember Lawrence as the guy who lost out on Selimathunzi. Therefore his return could bring negative publicity to Selimathunzi as comparison between him and Lunga will continue. It could actually get worse if he does well, because those who believed that the channel manipulated the votes or faked the entire talent search process would feel vindicated as they would have proof on LIVE that Lawrence deserved to win.

Scenario 2

Urban Brew could take it upon themselves to hire Lawrence as he has proven on SowetoTV that he can handle a show of that genre and save themselves the trouble of getting someone who will still have to prove himself. Plus getting someone who is not a musician or DJ might finally give the show the cred that it needs. 

It always bothers me when you have people who are already in the celebrity circles having to hosts shows where it sometimes looks like they are just sucking up to their friends instead of being impartial and giving honest opinions. Have you noticed how Dineo on Club 808 always makes it a point to mention her ties to certain people she has to talk about on the show? Even Sizwe on LIVE turned to be more friendlier to his friends on the show.

PROBLEM: Pretty much the same as it would be for SABC 1. Would Urban Brew really wanna start a new season with drama? They might just want to start over on a clean slate as Sizwe's departure and Minnie's resignation are not looking good for them right now so it would make sense if they just want to get someone who is totally "clean".

Be that as it may, the two scenarios raise some valid points (if I do say so myself) and could work either way for LIVE. It would indeed be a precarious issue for all involed but I personally would be happy to see Lawrence get a chance to share his talent with the rest of Mzansi.

During the Selimathunzi Talent Search Lawrence was quoted as having said; 

“I agree I still need to grow in this industry hence I'm taking it one step at a time , I want to make a difference , contribute and improve not only on the industry but as a person , I took it upon myself to go out there and reach for my dream . My audition for Selimathunzi was another one step I'm taking forward , I realized I can make a contribution , a positive contribution . It is very exciting for me that the public is voting for what they want. I believe I am what they want; I represent the majority of the viewers who have watched this wonderful show for many years.”

In case it is not clear, Lawrence gets my vote for the LIVE job. I do understand the situation that might not work in his favour but I think true talent deserves a chance to shine. And this year nobody deserves that chance for me than Lawrence. Go audition for the gig bro when/if they decide to make it an open audition instead.

Comments on Facebook about the subject have been:

Buntu: Lol... Yeah I think he should coz I have been seeing him on soweto tv for same shows and sizwe is boring yeah and thanks god minnie is out of live...
‎& I think he has to!! He was good! Mika Stefano speculated before it was even made official that Seli wants a new presenter...I saw Lunga's audition, less thay 40 seconds!! And he went that far? They new they wanted him...they shouldn't have made fools everyone with formality!! NOTHING hurts that not making it big when you know you can be! These people should just be clear with what they want....I know, been there! #Top6 SABC1 Thursday 6 O'Clock Show.....but its all good! *tearDrop*
Singa: To be honest that guy was way better than Lunga,i cudnt understnd why he didnt not saying Lunga is sure the most votes came frm the girls since he has the looks and he is model.New faces will do....pple r so talented out there,its just tht they r not given the chance to prove tht statement.

Justcurious Editor, Brown Shuga has also suggested that Lawrence would do well as the new LIVE presenter. With subsequent comments by one reader that reads;

Can you say “Absolutely amazing again”? That boy (Lawrence Maleka)is really good.
Pity he was not delicious looking as that Lunga Shabalala, anyways that’s history now. Fair or Unfair it doesn’t matter now.

Clearly Lawrence has the support of the people.

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