More than just the guy from Idols – Karabo Mogane

Karabo-Mogane-4After winning the South African Idols competition in 2015, Karabo Mogane’s one true hope is that he will not only be remember for winning Idols, “I do not only want to be known as the guy who won Idols. I would love to have an impact in this world and leave a legacy”.

Season 11 has seen the highest voting numbers since the start of the show. The reality show had people glued to the TV and eager to participate. 78.8 million Votes were casted over the duration of the show, tripling the votes of the previous season of 24.3 million.

Karabo has been one of my favourites for various reasons. He won me over with his rendition of Sam Smith’s, I’m not the only one, during the Top 16 show. All I could say was: ‘The brother is smooth’. I suppose it might have been his smooth, soulful demeanour that attracted many other people. Nevertheless, his calm personality, was initially viewed as a weakness as Idols judge Somizi Mhlongo likened his personality with that of “dishwashing-water”. But Somizi had no issues with Karabo’s voice. He commented that Karabo was the best male vocalist of all seasons and that he even wanted Karabo to sing at his wedding. It was however his calmness that attracted me and won my votes as he reflected a humble confidence.

At the end of the day, South Africa had the last say. If not his humble personality then it was definitely his soulful baritone voice that the country fell in love with. And let us not forget those dance moves that he pulled out during the Show Stopper Top 7 show when he performed Blame by Calvin Harris. I also remember how dashing he looked in his red pants and check shirt when he sang Macy Gray’s, I try. A song choice that an 80ties baby like myself thoroughly enjoyed. That performance wowed the judges and gave “smooth” a whole new meaning. Karabo indeed had the full package; voice, personality, dance moves and style.

The Idols journey like most things for Karabo was a faith journey. “I got the Golden Ticket, and I said: ‘God, I give everything over to you. Whatever happens, it has to be within your will, but this is what I would love to see happen in my life; this can transform my life and not just mine but others as well through the ministry that you have given me.”

album cover

Love is a verb – album cover

Karabo recalls the biggest challenge of his Idols journey as having the courage to stay true to who he is. He had to continuously remind himself that each performance was more than about attracting voters. “It is very easy to try and please people and compromise on your beliefs. You have to learn to stand up for what you believe and stay true to yourself. Understanding that people are voting for you and the person that you are, they are not voting for a pretentious person that you created.”  

Included in a range of prizes that he won was a Ford Fiesta and a recording deal. Karabo mentioned that when he got into the taxi earlier this year he told himself that it was the last time he was going to get into a taxi and indeed it was. He recently released his debut album: Love is a verb. “Love is a doing word, it is more than just spoken”. I love the variety of genre and combination of African and International feel that his 12 track cd offers. I am happy that his cover of Sam Smith’s, ‘I’m not the only one’, also features on the album, keeping my Idols memory alive. Karabo would like to see his album go platinum and become an international artist. I will encourage you to go get his album!

A++ led to a great career start.

Like most artist his career started from when he was very young. Karabo attended Nelspruit Primary School, where he was part of the choir and participated in many drama performances. As a little boy he always aimed to be excellent in all that he did. Consequently he was awarded the choir boy of the year award, and received an A plus plus in the Eisteddfod competition. No one can deny that Karabo Mogane is passionate about music and performing. Excellence is impossible without passion, so love what you do.

His high school years were no different. He continued with choir in Grade 9 and performed in musicals and drama pieces, and was even part of the school’s cultural committee. As a Matie, he led the Simonsberg Men’s residence Sêr group and was part of the House Committee. 

University however brought along a few challenges. As students across the country earlier this year protested against the increase of university tuition fees under the #feesmustfall movement, Karabo was one of those, who without the increase in fees, was still unable to finish his degree due to financial constraints. Mogane was about to start his final year in Geo-Informatics at Stellenbosch University. His bursary only covered his first three years and he was forced to pursue alternatives for the year.

Unable to return to varsity, the 24 year old entered Idols. By popular nationwide votes he won the competition, released his first album and is well set on the path to a successful music career. Nevertheless, Karabo believes in finishing what he has started and being financially better off than before he is excited to finish his degree through UNISA while pursuing a career in music.

Music is in his blood.


Karabo and his siblings

Karabo is the youngest of eight children. Fortunately the music genes did not skip anyone of them as they are all musically gifted. I asked Karabo who he thinks has the best voice in the family, he politely highlighted the special differences that each one brings to the group and that ‘little something’ that he loves about each of their voices and musical abilities. I do however think he should have said, “My mother”, but with five sisters he might just get himself into trouble.

In 2011 The Mogame Family, as their group is called, made a live recording and some of the songs were aired on One Gospel DSTV 339.

Family means a lot to Karabo and he values his relationship with all his siblings and his parents. Entering Idols meant that he was breaking away from the family music unit. Thus, the very first step of entering Idols was honouring his parents by asking for their blessing.

Karabo was raised in a Christian home where values such as love for your neighbour and love for God is highly esteemed. His dad is a pastor of a local church and a man who set out to serve God and live out the great commission with his family. With such strong Christian foundations it is no wonder that above everything else, Karabo wants to spread the love of God.

“Even as a secular artist, all I want to achieve with everything I do, is to tell people that God is alive and that God loves you. I am very happy that God has entrusted me with a platform to reveal Him to people.”

Earlier this year I was talking to a friend in the Neelsie. Karabo approached us, he said a quick hello and briefly spoke to my friend. During the Idols competition my friends and I spoke about interviewing Karabo for Coffee with Bee. They advised me to do the interview while he was busy with Idols. I answered. “No, let’s wait until he wins Idols” Yeah, I am happy this day came and that this blog is published.Karabo-Mogane-5-520x400

 “I want to thank everyone who voted for me, and those who prayed for me”. – Karabo Mogane

I, Bianca, want to say thank you Karabo, for living a life of faith. It inspires.

‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see’. – Hebrews 11:1 NIV


“Turn your passion into a business” – Christine Meintjes


Join the journey – Mawethu Nyakatya

1 Comment

  1. Rene

    Dankie vir die lekker lees stof

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