18-year old Sandra Nansambu named new Uganda Tourism Ambassador, POA Star Search winner
Written by Derrick Asaba on August 9, 2021
The journey that started on April 10 with submission of a 1-minute video singing a song of one’s choice, ended on August 8, with awarding of victors.
Central contestant and youngest of the top six contestants, Sandra Nansambu won the Pearl of Africa (POA) Star Search after putting up an electric performance.
Nansambu walked into the competition with Maddox Sematimba’s ‘Omuyimbi’ as her song of choice in the one-minute video that was a necessity to each contestant’s entry.
Leading her exit with utmost triumph at the grand finale, Nansambu sealed it off with Whitney Houston’s ‘Greatest Love of All’ and was considered ‘Best of the Best’ by the judges.
“Sandra, I love people like Whitney Houston and Miriam Makeba. Whitney Houston was my mentor. I think you have it all,” Kawalya, one of the judges, commented on her performance.
After Cindy asked her how she felt, Nansambu replied amidst sobs that, “I feel good because I have represented what I feel inside of me. I am here to prove the world wrong that disability is inability. I am here to inspire the people that are not considered in the community. I am here to give it my best so that they can get inspired from me because I have come from 2,000 people to be here. I have worked hard.”
She was given a standing ovation by both the Judges and the Jury and later on awarded as the overall winner hitting the UGX 60M Jackpot. She is now Uganda’s ultimate music star and brand tourism ambassador.
Besides the cash prize, she won a recording contract, music video production, professional talent management, collaborations with famous artists, destination trips, marketing among others.
“I congratulate this young Ugandan, eighteen years old for this fantastic achievement. Congratulations.” Tom Butime congratulated Nansambu.
The POA Star Search grand finale was hosted by Brian McKenzie and Sheila Shaltofie as the emcees and took place at the Victoria Ballroom, Speke Resort Munyonyo.
Judging the contestants were Singers Joanita Kawalya, Cindy Sanyu, Navio and Bismark Amumpeire. Besides these were a set of panellists (Jury) set to judge professionally that is; Ragga Dee, Suzan Keronen, Moses Matovu, Lydia Jazmine, Abby Mukiibi and Spice Diana.
A threesome of judges staged performances just before the contestants were given room to. Cindy performed her single, ‘One and Only’ Kawalya performed ‘Jim wange’ alongside her daughter Whitney and Navio performed ‘Hands up’.
Attending the event also were dignitaries from the Tourism sector like Lilly Ajarova the Uganda Tourism Board CEO, Tom Butime the Tourism Minister and former Tourism minister Godfrey Kiwanda among others.
Some of the highlighted Awards
Pearl’s Nation Challenge; Carsteen Yesuanjagala (Winner and walked away with UGX 3.5M), Tonny Agami (1st runner up and got 2.5M) and Sandra Nansambu (2nd runner up and got 1M).
Regional Stars; These won a recording deal with Tag studios and a booking agency at Talent Africa: Bruce Dickson (Western Uganda), Tracy Mirembe (Central Uganda), Tonny Agami (Northern Uganda) and Ibrahim Balunywa (Eastern Uganda).
The regional song award was won by the Central region with the song dubbed, ‘Kampala Kyekyo’ which was recorded in a 24-hour’s time by six contestants under the mentorship of Lydia Jazmine and Navio.
The Popularity Award (given to the contestant who wowed the crowd and was widely voted for) was awarded to western Uganda’s Bruce Dickson who also won a song and music video deal with Talent Africa.
The talent search was not only characterized by musical contests but also by tourism challenges which the contestants were put forward to.