Following a disastrous performance at the Buyel’Ekhaya Pan African music festival in East London recently, popular dance musician Babes Wodumo took to social media to blame Buyel’Ekhaya event founder Nomahlubi Mazwai for her lifeless performance.
In a video posted on her Instagram page, Babes Wodumo, real name Bongekile Simelane, 23, accused Mazwai of verbally abusing her and threatening to kill her moments before she ordered security guards to force her on stage.
She claims this had affected her performance.
The video, which went viral, came about following mounting public outcry about Simelane’s crack-of-dawn performance which failed to inspire.
Simelane, who performed as a closing act for the 24-hour music extravaganza, shocked fans when she waltzed to the stage lazily – the opposite of her usual energetic self.
Fans who had waited patiently until she rocked up at 4am, expected a mother-of-all-performances but instead were left speechless when she couldn’t deliver her normally energetic dance moves.
In the video message to her East London fans, Simelane said, “The last time I came to East London to perform I was harassed by that Mazwai woman from Buyel’Ekhaya so I was not myself. I was crying.
“People noticed that my performance was not right. People didn’t see this because it all happened backstage.”
Simelane apologised to her East London fans before promising them an entertaining performance at another event held at Buffalo City Stadium the following weekend. “I wasn’t well at all.”
Host KCI explained to revellers who flocked to the event that Simelane wanted to take a shower first but fans who were too excited to see her, shouted “we want her now”.
Speaking to the Dispatch yesterday Mazwai denied the allegations against her and threatened to take legal action against Simelane.
“I was shocked to see the video on social media. This is slander – people have been calling and asking how I could do that to a child. It is not true what Babes is saying on the video.”
Mazwai, who was sitting in a VIP suite, said she was shocked to see Black Coffee perform before Simelane.
“I was called backstage by my staff telling me that Babes Wodumo was refusing to perform, saying that she wanted to take a shower.”
Mazwai claimed Black Coffee, who was scheduled to close the show, ended up performing in her place because Babes was refusing to go on stage.
Mazwai said she booked Simelane for R120 000 with 75% of the performance fee paid up front and she had been due to touch down at the East London airport at 6.50pm from Durban.
“I heard that she drove to the venue and she arrived extremely late. If she had taken a flight she would have got enough time to shower.”
Mazwai said her staff had called on her to speak to Simelane after they tried in vain to convince her to perform.
Mazwai said Simelane’s late arrival was disrespectful and a breach of contract.
“Many artists who respected contracts would even charter a plane so that they could meet their end of the deal. This is for the first time that we get this let alone from an upcoming artist.
“We dealt with international icons like Angelique Kidjo, Hugh Masekela and others – they have never given us this problem”.