After months of battling with other contestants on a South African singing competition and finally making it to the grand finale, the return of Thato Makape to the Northern Cape was celebrated.

Although the 24-year-old did not win the competition, his home supporters are seemingly proud of how far he has come. Family, friends, government officials as well as supporters gave the uprising star a warm welcome home at the Kimberley airport.

Makape says that the amount of love and support he has been receiving does not allow him to drop his momentum.

“I’m not aiming on dropping any momentum or anything. It’s either I keep it stable or I give it a climax at all time so that is my intention. Going forward, I would like to say that I’m grateful, I’m pleased, and I feel blessed.”

His mother Matilda Makape is overwhelmed with joy.

“I’m so happy, I didn’t know that the Northern Cape, South Africa has so many support, but I’m so excited to show their love on my son. I can’t explain how I feel this morning. It’s just joy and happiness in my heart.”

The Northern Cape Provincial Executive members attended Makape’s last performance using government funds. Tourism MEC says that this was because they are considering making him an ambassador for Tourism in the province.

“According to us he’s still a winner as the Northern Cape that’s why from the tourism perspective we want to consider making him an ambassador for the province. We must encourage young people also then to move into the direction of arts, music and culture as well, that is what we’re trying to do, hence we had to spend some money to go there.”

The Northern Cape Department of Sports, Arts and Culture says it is trying to support and fund local artists despite limited funds. MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture Mbinqo-Gigaba says the provincial government is going to support all artists.

“We are supporting them through funding which is not enough and we are working together with the national arts council.”

Makape’s supporters were left speechless after months of only seeing him on the television.

“Congratulations Thato, you made us all proud in the Northern Cape. You’re tops, you’re our idol, keep up the good work…We’ve been supporting Thato for a while now, we’ve been to Pretoria, we’ve went to the finals, so the journey didn’t start here.”

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