Yet another award bungle by Babes
Musician’s spokesperson says she has other commitments KZN supporting Ndaba in Idols SA race
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.