On Saturday 18 June, Dirja Lekas, a 12-year-old singer from Strand, was announced as winner of the first Divas Unite Young Divas Singing Competition.
The exciting new talent search, open to female vocalists from ages 8 – 18, was hosted at the V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre in Cape Town during Youth Month. The competition attracted a big number of entries with 40 contestants making it through to the first and second live audition rounds. For the final round, 10 finalists were selected who each had to perform two songs – a ballad and an up-tempo song.
Stiff competition was provided by all finalists who included Talitha Luiters (11), Hannah Warrington (11), Jessica Matthews (12), Lia Schwendinger (14), Kim Samuels (16), Jocasta Durr (16), Whiren van Niekerk (17), Kristi Lowe (17) and Terrah-Leigh Pietersen (18). In the end, Dirja was crowned ‘Young Diva 2016’ and, as the winner, she will perform as soloist alongside top South African female vocalists at this year’s Divas Unite concert on 9 August – a spectacular benefit concert in celebration of national Women’s Day to be hosted at the Grand Arena at GrandWest.
Dirja, who attends Mondeor Eco School, is no stranger to competitions. She has been the overall winner in her age category of the Helderberg Eisteddfod for 5 years in a row and took part in the National Eisteddfod Academy Young Artist Competition in Johannesburg where she was a Category Winner. At the age of 10, she won the Heinz Winckler competition and at the age of 11 she won the Barnyard Jazz overall. Says Dirja’s mother, Franky Lekas, ‘Didi has never not sung. This is her life, her passion and her gift. She wants to sing and make this her life and career.’
The all start line-up of this year’s Divas Unite concert include leading songstresses Thembeka Mnguni, Rouchelle Liedemann, Adelia Douw, Kim Kallie, Judy Page, Magdalene Minnaar, Lynelle Kenned and seven-time SAMA-nominated girl band, BlackByrd. The powerful musical accompaniment will be provided by an all-female Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the Divas Unite Choir and newly found violin duo, The Grey. The conductor will be the dashing, Brandon Phillips and the show will be compèred by award-winning TV presenter Katlego Maboe.
Divas Unite 2016 is a concert for the whole family and tickets are available through Computicket. General admission ticket prices range from R180 – R220 and only R120 for children ages 6-12.
In support of women in need, a percentage of ticket sales will benefit the Saartjie Baartman Centre for abused women and children in Athlone, as well as Project Flamingo which supports breast cancer patients in the public health sector.
Divas Unite ticket holders also stand the chance of winning a fantastic prize. LUX* Resorts and Hotels, in association with Air Mauritius and Divas Unite will give away a 7-day dream holiday for 2 people at the 4-star beach hotel Tamassa in Mauritius. To find out more and stand the chance to WIN, visit www.divas-unite.co.za or facebook, twitter, and instagram.