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MBABANE - May the best man win.
This holds true for the 65 contestants who have managed to get to the semi-finals of the Ntjilo-Ntjilo music festival.
The competition started in July and attracted over 272 entries.

The music festival will be hosted online and it will adhere to the COVID-19 health guidelines set by government.
This was confirmed by Mathokoza Sibiya, from Ntjilo-Ntjilo, in an interview with the Entertainment Desk.
He expressed his excitement and thanked all the people who participated.

“Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic, choristers have shown interest as we received over 272 entries and we are now at 65 for the semi-finals,” Sibiya said.
Sibiya went on to share that they will be streaming the semi finalists on September 25, 2020.
“We will be sharing links on this publication for people to actually see the semi-finalists but they will not be allowed to vote. The voting procedure will commence In the final stage of the competition,” he said.


It is worth noting that the competition started in 2016 with 30 children and three choirs participating but it has grown to 100 participants per region, including choirs from different genres.
Sibiya said the purpose of the competition was to help young people deal with soci-economic issues and also create a podium for them to showcase their talent.
“Most young people are full of anger and have low self-esteem as a result of various social ills such as lack of education, poor academic performance, physical and emotional abuse, poverty and  loneliness, among others.
“The main mandate of the competition is to help eradicate those issues, unearth new talent and create a platform for brands to interact with current or future artists. We want to restore hope and encourage livelihood during the pandemic,” he said.

Sibiya explained that the competition will be broken down into five categories which include children from eight to 11 years, children from 12 to 14 years, candidates from 15 to 35 years, classical solo and choirs.
The finals will be recorded at a common venue but only artists and the recording crew will be allowed; bringing the total number of people in the 300 hundred seater hall to a minimum of four to a maximum of 15.
Sanitisation and temperature checks will be performed on all artists, event managers and crew before entering the hall.


“In the case of choirs and dance groups; the smallest group will be of two people and the largest will be of 12 people. They will all be spaced, contact dances will not be allowed; face screens will be worn at all times especially during the performances,” he added.
He also said that the venue and equipment will be fumigated and sanitised after every contestant.

“To avoid large numbers of people, there will be no audience; artists will not watch each other; they will be given arrival times ensuring a reasonable gap between departure and arrival. When they finish recording they will leave the recording venue,” said Sibiya.
Prizes last year ranged from E5000 for the first prize down to E1000 for the fifth prize at the finals.  
He also said the 2020 prizes will be announced as soon as negotiations have been finalised with sponsors but they will not be less than  those of 2019.


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