Yet an­other award bun­gle by Babes

Mu­si­cian’s spokesper­son says she has other com­mit­ments KZN sup­port­ing Nd­aba in Idols SA race

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - SIPHELELE BUTHELEZI SIPHELELE BUTHELEZI

BABES Wo­dumo again won’t be at a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional mu­sic awards cer­e­mony, blow­ing an op­por­tu­nity of a life­time twice in the space of four months.

The self-pro­claimed queen of gqom, who is one of only two South African nom­i­nees for the MTV Euro­pean Mu­sic Awards, is not in Lon­don for tonight’s event.

In June, Babes, whose real name is Bongek­ile Sime­lane, scup­pered a chance to make it to the BET Mu­sic Awards in the US af­ter her man­age­ment and record la­bel, West Ink Records, failed to ar­range her travel visa doc­u­ments, de­spite the or­gan­is­ers com­mit­ting to pay for flights and ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The Sun­day Tri­bune un­der­stands that Babes’s visa was sorted out this time, but sources from her record la­bel have re­vealed that they ex­pected the or­gan­is­ers to pay for travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion costs.

On Thurs­day af­ter­noon West Ink Records was still in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with MTV, scram­bling to get the 23-yearold on a flight to Lon­don.

When that failed, the mu­si­cian’s man­age­ment in­formed MTV that she would not be at­tend­ing the event.

“These MTV guys are now say­ing Babes must buy tick­ets af­ter they had agreed to pay. But we are still try­ing to find a so­lu­tion,” a source said on Thurs­day.

Econ­omy-class re­turn flights to Lon­don on South African Air­ways cost at least R10000 per ticket, ac­cord­ing to the na­tional air­line’s web­site.

On Thurs­day, the web­site showed tick­ets were still avail­able for flights on Fri­day and Satur­day.

In an email, Alex Okosi, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Vi­a­com In­ter­na­tional Me­dia Net­works Africa (VIMN Africa), a sub­sidiary of Vi­a­com, which MTV is part of, said all nom­i­nees had al­ways been aware that MTV did not pay for their air tick­ets.

Okosi con­firmed VIMN Africa had re­ceived writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tion that Babes’s team had elected not to at­tend the MTV awards cer­e­mony in Lon­don.

“Our com­mu­ni­ca­tion to all artists has al­ways been equal and clear that VIMN Africa does not fly nom­i­nees to the MTV Euro­pean Mu­sic Awards,” he said. “We have con­firmed this with all the nom­i­nees. As it re­lates to tal­ent, we only fly per­form­ers to the MTV awards show.

“We re­ceived writ­ten confirmation from Babes Wo­dumo’s team that they elected to not at­tend the MTV Euro­pean Mu­sic Awards,” Okosi said on Fri­day.

In an in­ter­view with the Sun­day Tri­bune last month, Babes vowed that his­tory would not re­peat it­self af­ter she missed the BET Mu­sic Awards in the US.

“I will def­i­nitely be at­tend­ing the MTV awards. I have sorted out the visa. I am go­ing,” she said at the time.

There were calls again on so­cial me­dia for the mu­si­cian to leave the West Ink Records sta­ble.

Khulekani Nt­shangase, a spokesper­son for Babes and the record la­bel, said they were not plan­ning to at­tend the awards be­cause of “is­sues associated with the pro­mo­tion of the al­bum and video shoots” which they had to hon­our.

“Fur­ther­more, our en­dorse­ment part­ners have a tight sched­ule that needs to be hon­oured. Con­sid­er­ing the fact that many artists get nom­i­nated but never at­tend cer­e­monies due to com­mit­ments, we don’t see any­thing wrong with us also not at­tend­ing,” said Nt­shangase.

“For the record, be­sides be­ing a guest, Babes was not fea­tured on the awards pro­gramme. As such, her miss­ing the awards will have no ef­fect on ei­ther the awards or her ca­reer,” he said. DURBANITES, in­clud­ing the mayor and South Africa’s first lady, are ral­ly­ing be­hind 25-year-old Mthokozisi Nd­aba to win sea­son 13 of Idols SA.

Nd­aba, is among the top three fi­nal­ists, along with Cape Town’s Pax­ton Fielies and Pre­to­ria’s Botl­hale Phora.

The trio spent this week in Lon­don, where they recorded their de­but singles, which will be per­formed tonight.

Nd­aba recorded Ma­sithande (Let’s love each other), Phora recorded Good Enough and Fielies recorded Demon­strate.

The Kwa­mashu-born singer won the hearts of many dur­ing his au­di­tion.

Af­ter se­cur­ing a golden ticket ear­lier in the tal­ent con­test, Nd­aba re­turned home and dur­ing a rob­bery was shot in the legs.

For­mer Ga­gasi FM ra­dio DJ and pro­ducer Jac­inta Ngob­ese has been lead­ing a cam­paign to se­cure votes for Nd­aba by sup­ply­ing air­time to his fans.

“We bought air­time for R11 500. We re­ceived spon­sor­ships from peo­ple like lo­cal busi­ness­man Si­bonelo Mbatha among oth­ers.

“We in­vited peo­ple to dif­fer­ent venues and pro­vided them with air­time so they could vote for him,” Ngob­ese said.

Mo­tor­cades were also used to cre­ate hype around Nd­aba.

“I have never met Mthokozisi,” Ngob­ese said. “I am do­ing all of this from the heart be­cause he is from my home town. His mu­si­cal tal­ent is amaz­ing and we wish him all the best.”

For the fi­nals next Sun­day, there was a plan to erect a big screen in Kwa­mashu.

Nd­aba has been through many chal­lenges in his life, hav­ing lost all his fam­ily mem­bers in­clud­ing his new­born baby.

He told the Sun­day Tri­bune last month that he planned to re­lease his al­bum with a book de­tail­ing his life’s pains and his Idols jour­ney. The book would be ti­tled Pain and Fame.

Bishop Ni­cholas Mz­imela from the Kwa­mashu Chris­tian Cen­tre said the con­gre­ga­tion was proud of Nd­aba, who had been a mem­ber of the church for 10 years.

“He loved mu­sic and asked to join the church choir,” Mz­imela said.

“He has re­ally done well in the com­pe­ti­tion and we are sup­port­ing him to the end.”

First lady Tobeka Madiba Zuma and ethek­wini mayor Zandile Gumede are also back­ing Nd­aba.

Madiba-zuma re­mem­bers a per­for­mance that left her in tears when Nd­aba per­formed Ger­ald Levert’s I Was Made to Love You.

“While he may be young, he has a will of steel,” she said.

“Mthokozisi has not only gone through a rough patch in life, he has seen it all. I re­mem­ber... (when) they had to ded­i­cate their song choice to their loved ones who had passed on. Mthokozisi ded­i­cated his song to not just one, but 11 of his late fam­ily mem­bers. When he sang that song, I was in tears,” re­called Madiba-zuma.

She said Nd­aba was a win­ner, no mat­ter what hap­pened from here.

The city’s first cit­i­zen urged Durbanites to back Nd­aba.

“I en­cour­age all Durbanites and South Africans to vote in their num­bers. What­ever the out­come, we are proud of him and in our hearts, he is al­ready a hero and is des­tined for great­ness;” said Gumede. To vote for Mthokozisi Nd­aba, SMS 01 to 37400

To vote for Botl­hale Phora, SMS 03 to 37400

To vote for Pax­ton Fielies, SMS 08 to 37400

Vote on web: www.idol­ssa.tv. or via the Wechat app

Botl­hale Phora Pax­ton Fielies Idols pre­sen­ter Proverb, fi­nal­ist Mthokozisi Nd­aba and for­mer Miss SA Liesl Lau­rie

Babes Wo­dumo missed the MTV Euro­pean Mu­sic Awards in Lon­don.

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