Ghetto Kids Advance to Britain’s Got Talent Final After Explosive Live Semi-final

Ghetto Kids, the Ugandan dance group of six youngsters, came out top in the public vote on Britain’s Got Talent tonight and will be joined in the final by Welsh singer Travis George.

The dancers were one of the golden buzzer acts during the audition stages of the popular ITV show, making history when judge Bruno Tonioli became the first person to hit the golden buzzer before the act had even finished.

They were joined in the final by Travis George, who got through on the public vote after the judges were divided 2-2 on whether to choose him or 11-year-old guitarist Harry Churchill.

But the night belonged to Ghetto Kids, whose ages range from five to 13 and who were born in Kampala and raised in the slums of Uganda, forming the act after they met in an orphanage.

The Ghetto Kids performing at the Britain’s Got Talent Semi-final.

Speaking to the Mirror, their ‘dad’ Daouda Kavuma recalls how he too grew up on the streets of Gombe, a town north of capital Kampala.

“I come from a polygamous family of 30 children from six mothers, but my father died when I was eight and everything changed,” the 35-year-old says.

“I stayed with my stepmother and I was made to work all the time. They would beat and cane me if I didn’t do it right, or punish me by not feeding me.

“I didn’t have time to play like other children. I longed to play football but I was never allowed to stop working.

“I left home and lived on the street. I had to scavenge scraps of food, but at least I was free and wasn’t being beaten. It was better than staying at home.

“Then a man found me on the street and helped me. He got me playing football, helped me through primary and secondary school, then college where I graduated as a primary school teacher.

“I was so grateful he had helped me even though he wasn’t family. I decided that when I grew up I’d do the same for at least one child, to say thank you.”

Daouda, who specialised in music and dance, went on to teach at a state school in Kampala. He recalls: “Three children in my class failed to appear on the day of their final exam. I went to look for them and found they lived in the ghettos and didn’t have money to do the exam. In Uganda even government schools charge a fee.

“I remembered how that man had helped me, so I brought them in and trained these kids to dance, then we went to the streets to perform and people started chipping in money.

“One day a children’s TV presenter, saw us and invited us to audition for a dance competition on a big show. We won, and the prize was a goat. So we sold it and used the money to pay for the kids’ tuition and their exam. It was then I realised I could use dance to provide for the less privileged and the orphans on the street.”

Daouda came across other children needing help on the streets.

He says: “I found one child while we were out dancing. He was looking for scrap metal and plastic for recycle. His father had died so he would take it home so his family could buy food.

“Children would spend a whole day without a meal. Some came from broken homes where they would witness their father beating up their mother. The family of one girl I found had given her to a prostitute, and she would bring men to the same room where the child was staying. They suffered abuse on the streets too. People looked down and saw them as criminals. I had to help them.”

Daouda left his job as a teacher and set up a home for the children. Today there are 14 girls and 17 boys, aged from three to 18, supported by a team of educators, cooks, cleaners as well as musicians and choreographers.

Daouda says he was so proud of the kids at the BGT auditions, but didn’t expect them to be the first act to get a golden buzzer mid-performance.

He says: “I was overwhelmed. It went crazy. I’m so proud because the kids kept dancing until the end, even with all the glitter falling onto them.

“I always tell them that wherever on any platform, you have to do something so people will remember you.”

The group – Priscila, 12, Asharif, 12, Akram, 13, Shakib, 12, Madwanah, 13 and Josephine, five. Daouda says winning the £250,000 prize isn’t the only thing the children want to do while they’re here.

“They want to see Big Ben and the Palace guards, and they would really like to meet the new king.”

And whatever happens, he knows the Ghetto Kids have already won the best prize of all – a family they thought they would never have.

He says: “I didn’t see it coming, but all of them call me dad. And yes, I feel like I’m their dad. They say: ‘Even though we lost our dads, you fill that gap in our lives’. It’s the best feeling.”

Ghetto Kids first shot to fame nine years ago when a video of the original line-up dancing to Eddy Kenzo’s Sitya Loss went viral. After that, they toured Africa and beyond, and now include P Diddy and Nicki Minaj among their fans.

Travis George and Ghetto Kids are now confirmed finalists, along with Tuesday’s winner, comedian Viggo Venn from Norway and runner-up 11-year-old Olivia Lynes, from Bath. Monday’s winner was amputee dancer Musa Motha from London, and the runner-up was singer Amy Lou from Tipton, West Midlands.

Public opinion appeared to be divided on who should have gone through, with many taking to social media to say that the Japanese yo-yo act Toy Toy Toy should have secured a place. One Twitter user commented: “Shocking call. Nice guy but this ain’t X factor, toy toy toy were robbed. That’s real unique talent.” Another said: “Young dude on guitar should have gone through!”

But there were many congratulations for Travis George, including from Able, a day opportunities provider based in Torfaen, South East Wales, where he spent a number of years. They said: “We are so proud of Travis, he is part of our story. He is breaking barriers every day, such an inspiration.”

Ghetto Kids won many plaudits from the public, including from Claudette LLB, who stated on Twitter: “Well done GK! Had me dancing like crazy. Love their story. Deserving cause, amazing talents and I hope that they win.”

Source: Wales Online and the Mirror

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