After getting axed as an Idols judge on Mzansi Magic before the 18th season, Unathi Nkayi, in a statement, says it was an honour having been part of the reality format series.
Both Randall Abrahams and Unathi Nkayi were axed from the South African version of the Fremantle format show produced by [SIC] Entertainment before auditions started this past Sunday for the upcoming season 18 that will be shown later this year on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).
Mzansi Magic said it’s not renewing the contracts of Randall or Unathi, who have served as Idols judges respectively since the start of Idols in 2002 for 17 seasons and since 2011 for 10 seasons.
The South African version of Idols has Gavin Wratten as director and executive producer, co-producers Anneke de Ridder and ProVerb (Tebogo Thekisho), who also serves as host.
The departure of Randall and Unathi followed the exit of Somizi Mhlongo in 2021 following serious allegations of physical abuse against the socialite, after which Idols immediately lost a third of its Sunday evening ratings on Mzansi Magic as viewers tuned out.
Mzansi Magic and [SIC] Entertainment have reportedly been discussing the possible return of Somizi Mhlongo for the 18th season to try and reverse Idols’ ratings collapse during season 17.
The public image of Unathi also took a knock in late-2021 when she was involved in a behind-the-scenes verbal fight with fellow radio host Sizwe Dhlomo at the Kaya FM radio station that spilt out in public, and which led to Kaya FM firing her.
In a statement posted on her Instagram account, Unathi says that it was an honour for her to have been a part of the show as a judge.
“To every contestant who stood in front of us. From the ones brave enough to share with us their hopes. I don’t take lightly the act of doing that for the world to see. An honour I will always hold. Thank you for trusting me as one of your judges.
“To those who unleashed a new level of my tears, heavily pregnant with Baby Idols garnering for Wooden Mic, thank you for the laughter and joy. I can never thank you enough, Anneke, for making that call asking me to join the Idols family. Gav and Prozza, thank you for trusting me with such a great responsibility. One that would form part of the narrative and soundtrack of our souls as a people. You changed my life and that of my family.
“To MultiChoice, how humbling that you continue to make every boy and girl believe in themselves no matter which corner they come from, including me. To every special being who has given to the brilliance of the show. It has been a true honour being part of the family. And to the new members of our family. Good luck.
“Thank you to each and every one of you for pushing me to be the very best version of myself every Sunday for eleven years.”
Mzansi Magic said it’s not ready to announce the new Idols judges.