Ugandan contestant Esther Nabasa Mugizi, 21, won Ksh5m (sh130m) at the second edition of the Tusker Project Fame Academy, a music contest held in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday.
The 21-year-old student of telecommunication engineering at Makerere University beat 14 other contestants from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Nabasa was the only Ugandan who made it to the top four finalists, after her compatriot, Stephen Oundo, dropped out on Saturday.
The music contest, which started two years ago, searches for music talent and rewards the winner with cash and a recording contract at Gallo Records in South Africa, one of Africaâ€™s biggest recording studios.
Nabasa also won a laptop with a one-year Internet connection, medical cover worth sh260m, a six-month grooming at a beauty salon and a sh1m phone voucher.
Nabasa, who returns this week, was declared winner by Price Waterhouse Coopers, the firm that tallied the votes. Kenyaâ€™s Wendy Kimani, 21, and David Ogola, 23, were first and second runners-up.
The show started on April 26 with 15 contestants from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Each country had five representatives who were taught music skills, media and administration. Initially, judges, teachers and viewers decided who was to stay in the show but on Sunday, the fate was entirely in the viewersâ€™ hands.
Ugandans were ecstatic when Nabasa won. Ululation rented in the air in several households whose occupants watched the show on TV.
Speaking to The New Vision by phone on Friday, Nabasa said: â€œIf I win, I will pamper myself and my family and do lots of shopping. I will also start a project to help children and prostitutes engage in gainful employment. I will also kiss taxis goodbye and buy my own car.â€
With Bob Marley as her role model in music, the Mbarara-born star said she had over 100 songs that would help her kick start a music career, which she hopes will take her to an international level.
Ugandan wins Project Fame prize