By CityLife Arts Writer
For the first time since The Masked Singer South Africa hit our screens, the four celebrity detectives on the fun-filled local version of the world’s biggest guessing game were totally floored. When Banana had to peel off his mask, none of them had an inkling that Bongani Bingwa would be the slick singing sensation hidden in the crazy costume.
Without a doubt, it was Banana aka Bongani’s soothing, big vocal pipes that threw detectives J’Something, Somizi, Sithelo Shozi and Skhumba off the scent. However, the obscure clues they received from the experienced investigative journalist didn’t help either.
When Banana let slip that “one could call him the undertaker because he has had his fair share of digging in the graveyard”, music maestro J’Something figured it must be a radio presenter working the midnight shift. But Somizi took it one step further. Banana’s headphones signalled that they were dealing with a DJ who mixes music late at night. Thus, Somizi’s initial guesses were Oscar Mbo or DJ Cleo.
Whilst Sithelo interpreted “the graveyard shift” as someone who is not afraid to put in the hard work, she latched onto another clue. As Banana had also revealed that, unlike Rooster, he “is the real alarm clock”, Sithelo believed he was a trailblazer. Furthermore, only a theatre performer could project his voice like that. It could only be Sello Maake KaNcube.
Skhumba agreed about the theatre part, but didn’t Banana also say that he had “touched a part of the universe”? And a Banana could only hail from KZN! So, Skumba was convinced it was Grammy winner Zakes Bantwini.
Following these guesses, J Something asked Banana if he often mingles with other celebrities. The answer confused them even more. Banana dropped that he once worshipped with one of the detectives and regarded another as a rival.
Even though the audience swooned over Banana’s rendition of “It’s Amazing” by Luther Vandross, his opponent, Fox, bedazzled everyone, sending him to the danger zone. And in the final vote, Robot overpowered Banana.
That meant the detectives had to lock in their final guesses. Instead of naming Bongani, J’Something went with DJ Fresh, Somizi and Sithelo with Sello Maake KaNcube, and Skhumba remained sold on Zakes Bantwini.
After removing his mask, Bongani spilled tea about his rival on the detective panel. On Friday mornings, his radio audience preferred listening to Skhumba. And who did he worship with? In 1997, on the day after Princess Diana had died, Somizi and Bongani were at church together.
Bongani raves about The Masked Singer South Africa and all the secrecy involved: “Just the idea of being picked up by a car, being covered so that nobody could see me, and when arriving somebody is saying, ‘Banana on the move. Banana on the move.’ – it was quite like something I had never experienced before.”
With Hippo, Rooster, Soccerman, and Banana being unmasked, Tree, Elephant, Warrior, Hippo, Watermelon, Sunflower, Doughnut, Lollipop, Rhino, Robot, Fox, and Lion will return for the next round.
The Masked Singer South Africa is screened on Saturdays at 18:30 on SABC 3 and 20:00 on SABC 1. You can also catch the repeat on SABC 1 on Thursdays at 21:00.