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Celebrating agricultures top musical talent at the Agri’s Got Talent Show

Saturday, 18 November 2023, was one of those perfectly wind still clement Paarl evenings with a tangible excitement in the air. It was the annual Agri’s Got Talent (AGT) taking place at the Paarl Taalmonument amphitheatre. Instead of the traditional annual competition, the evening was a celebratory Reunion Show featuring most of the top performers of the previous nine years.

With the stage set, lights and microphones tested, the Western Cape’s most talented farm workers took to the stage to share their gift of singing to an audience of almost 1000 people!

The idea came to Anton Rabe, Hortgro’s executive director, ten years ago when he was thinking to himself…there’s Idols, America’s Got Talent…why not celebrate our local agricultural talent with Agri’s Got Talent?

“Agriculture isn’t just about food and wine, it’s about our people,” says Rabe. “Our agricultural workers have so much more to offer than just the work they do on the farms or warehouses. They are amazingly talented people.

“The initiative started out small,” reminisces Rabe, “But within a few years, AGT, as it is known today, grew into the most exciting entertainment project in Agriculture,” shares Rabe.

In celebration of the ten-year milestone, previous years’ top ten participants as well as some of the previous years’ winners came together for an agricultural music spectacular in the winelands.

The music and voice coaching for the competition and the concert has been overseen by the famous artist, Frieda van den Heever, for the past ten years.

AGT is more than just a singing competition. There is also a strong focus on life skills development.

Over the years, top ten contestants have achieved amazing milestones. Ayabonga Mboho, the first winner of AGT, was initially a seasonal worker. Since he won AGT, he has been invited to sing overseas three times and today he teaches music at a school in Paarl.

Victor Fredericks, who was in the top ten in 2018, has already published two books.

Jason Baartman, a rapper, took second place in 2017. Starting his career as a general worker, today Baartman is a production manager and responsible for as many as 50 workers in the nursery, and in harvest time about ten picking teams under him. Baartman is also part of the ATKV-Crescendo project and has performed at the Woordfees.

Beyond personal milestones, AGT participants give back to their communities. Newfound confidence, skills and knowledge are shared with families, colleagues and the community. They become ambassadors for agriculture. This spillover effect builds much-needed relationships that promote social cohesion and community development, and make agriculture a proud sector to work in.

For more information on AGT contact info@agrisgottalent.com / www.agrisgottalent.com

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