Theatre giant and television soap star Siyabonga Shibe, Umuziwabantu Municipality, and the KZN Department of Arts and Culture have teamed up in a bid to develop young talented actors.Shibe, who plays the role of Qabane on Uzalo, one of the country’s biggest soapies, was in Harding last Friday, scouting for fresh talent.The programme seeks to identify, develop, groom, mentor, and promote the acting industry to aspiring artists.The Harding town hall turned into a hive of activity as a huge number of local upcoming theatre groups came to audition for Uzalo. They performed live in front of a packed audience at the hall.The event was proof that live entertainment can capture the minds and hearts of young people, as those present were enthralled by the actors on stage and showed their support with a resounding round of applause. Umuziwabantu Municipality mayor Dixie Nciki said they decided to ask the SABC 1 soap actor to encourage young artists because she noticed that young people in the community had a keen interest in acting.“The talent development programme is aimed at showcasing our quality local talent,” explained Nciki.“The idea is to equip local upcoming artists with the knowledge they require to make it in the entertainment industry. We aim to provide support and uplift our upcoming talented youth and deliver the required industry standards,” she said.Nciki said the municipality wants to educate and train the indentified actors in all they need to know about performing.“I would like to call all talented young people under the Umuziwabantu Municipality to grab this opportunity with both hands and show off their talent,” said the mayor.Umuziwabantu Arts and Culture Forum Chairperson Malusi Mzekandaba said they want the youth to become more familiar with theatre production, adding that, even though there is plenty of natural talent out there, it needs to be groomed. Uzalo actor Siyabonga Shibe motivated the young hopefuls present at the auditions by saying that whenever new talent is exposed, more opportunities are created for young people. He was very impressed with the talent in Harding and said he would be creating a database of actors from the community.