For some weird reason, it feels as though the SABC 1 talent search for SA's next big thing in acting happened earlier than it did so I was surprised to learn that Class Act debuted in 2010 and was followed by a second season in 2011.
The show, which was an Amstel Lager initiative, was created with the aim of providing an opportunity for aspiring actors to expose their talent to South African audiences. And that they did. Even those who didn't win their respective seasons have gone on to work in some of South African film and TV's biggest productions.
The judging panel, which was referred to as "the casting couch" for Class Act was one with some very memorable clout.
Among the the high-profile judges on the panel were leading actors' agent, Moonyeenn Lee of Monyeen Lee and Associates (MLA), Generations actor Rapulana Seiphemo and Tendeka Matatu (a well-known producer and director).
Seiphemo's "White Wedding" co-star, Kenneth Nkosi was the show's host.
How the show worked:
Aspiring actors from across the nation auditioned for a spot in the top 10 which involved a trip to Johannesburg for the Class Act Workshop. Among the workshop activities were acting, gym, comedy and fight classes which were shown on the weekly show.
Their talent was then assessed by the judging panel following a weekly acting challenge where they were presented with honest and ruthless feedback, the most ruthless of all being Monyeen Lee. She defined the brutal in brutally honest. Those who were picked as Class Act of the Week by the judges were granted immunity from being eliminated for that round.
Viewers were then invited to vote for their favourite actors via SMS every week to save them from "hitting the cutting room floor" and being eliminated from the show.
The first season had an all male cast and was opened up to actresses in the second season. Remember these faces?
Danny (as he's popularly known in acting circles) currently plays the role of Brandon on the eTV drama, Broken Vows.
Mbele currently plays Bekumuzi on Mzansi Magic's Isibaya and has featured in a number of other popular shows including Muvhango and Rhythm City.
Muzi Ngwenya (popularly known as Muzi Clive) who went on to be a finalist in the show, unfortunately passed away back in 2012. His death sent shockwaves through the industry and left his peers understandably devastated.
Sdumo Tsepo Mtshali
Seven years after his win, it's quite clear to see why Mtshali came out tops. He hit the ground running after his win and has not slowed down ever since.
He has since played the lead in the 2013, Donovan Marsh film, iNumber Number which went on to become an action-packed TV drama as well as shows such as Isibaya, Isithunzi, Saints and Sinners and more.
Thus far, Lucas' most memorable role has been on SABC 3's Isidingo as Nikiwe's American boyfriend. He has also featured in international series such as Homeland and Dominion alongside former Class Act competitor, Steven Ward and Kim Engelbrecht. He currently works as an actor, writer, director, voice artist and presenter.
The gorgeous Yonda Thomas is a fan fave among the ladies. He has acted in shows such as Saints and Sinners, Mzansi Magic's Doubt, SABC 3's High Rollers, Isibaya and Rockville to name a few.
Other contestants included Denzil Thompson, Greg Parvess and Steven Ward who worked on international projects House on Willow Street, No Man Left Behind and Dominion (alongside Engelbrecht and Lucas).
Season 2 featured a more unisex cast and had the following actors in the spotlight:
Mandisa Nduna - who you now know as Thishiwe Ziqgubu's girlfriend - has yet to have a huge role in a major production but she has enjoyed a steady stream of work over the years.
Petronella Tshuma has become most popular for her role as Ruby on the eTV drama Scandal but that might change due to the very interesting role she's playing on another eTV soapie, Rhythm City alongside Tina Jaxa and Jamie Bartlett.
Pallance Dladla was also part of this season and other than being one of SA's busiest actors (ITO work), he's also Sdumo Mtshali's full-time bestie and roomie.
Tumie Ngumla and Abdul Khoza won that season and like their predecessor, they have also enjoyed a steady stream of work. Although, Khoza did admittedly return to his life as a firefighter shortly after his win in order to secure a steady and guaranteed stream of income in order to care for his daughter.
Other contestants on that season included Marlo Minnaar, Ephraim Gordon, Vuks Ngcingwana, Nina Hlalo and Rosa Whitcher.
Which contestant did you vote for and who has been your fave thus far? Hit us up on social media @ZAlebs and let us know.
Main image credit: youtube.com