After a three-year romance with producers of Malawi’s prime talent identification company E-Wallet, Sunbird Tourism Limited has withdrawn its sponsorship.
The competition, however, goes ahead under a new name E-Wallet Talent Show and this year’s auditions start on September 16. The grand prize is a car.
While confirming the pulling out of sponsorship, E Wallet projects director Felix Njawala, however could not give more details on the matter.
When asked, Sunbird public relations manager Akossa Mphepo said: “We would prefer not to comment on the Search for a Star at the moment.”
But according to E Wallet, after the Grand Palace auditions in Mzuzu on September 16, the E Wallet crew will be at Sinbird Capital in Lilonggwe on the 18th before wrapping up with Blantyre on the September 20 at Sunbird Mount Soche.
“We now have partnered with ZBS [Zodiak Broadcasting Station] who have offered to help by bringing in their technical and production expertise and also help us reach out to many by giving E-Wallet prime time on ZBS television.
“The aim is to bring out an excellent production that can compete with foreign productions on international television channels. Of course, we will be working hand in hand with the Zodiak team.
“The show will also be beamed on other television stations that we are still in discussion with because the Zodiak partnership does not bar other television channels from beaming the event,” explained Njawala.
From a pack of 16 contestants, judges will trim the number to 12 during theatre week audition.
“This year it will be a different setup. We will have theatre auditions where judges will eliminate four and remain with 12 who will go to the eviction shows. The theatre audition will be conducted in a theatre arrangement where contestants perform in front of a sizeable audience,” he said.
Robert Kalua is the new host while Marvin Hanke, Rudo Chakwera and Dumisani Mfune have been retained as judges.