Bubbly Babes Wodumo deflated by visa fiasco
BONGEKILE Simelane, or Babes Wodumo to the masses, has always displayed a bubbly personality in public and on stage.
It is widely accepted that she is not the most fluent public speaker, having made many perceived blunders in interviews or just not showing up for them.
Despite this, her strong personality, sense of humour and bubbliness have won the hearts and minds of many South Africans, who love her music, her good looks and perhaps her brightly coloured wigs.
When news broke that Wodumo would no longer be attending the BET awards in Los Angeles due to a visa bungle, people vented on social media.
Soon Wodumo was trending, as many turned the matter into mockery.
On Friday during a press briefing in Durban, she cut an uncharacteristically forlorn figure as West Ink Records management, led by Mampintsha (Mandla Maphumulo) and Khulekani Ntshangase, took centre stage, doing much of the talking and answering the key question: “How could this happen on your watch?”
The Lamontville-born star, 23, who was relatively unknown until she dropped her smash hit Wololo, appeared deeply hurt and kept her words to a minimum.
She did, however, reject suggestions she should leave the West Ink Records stable and stated boldly, “ngiyofela la”, meaning “I will die here”.
Wodumo said others should have snapped her up when she was still dancing, singing and performing locally, as her boss Mampintsha did, revealing that he encouraged her to sing when she was reluctant to.
Mampintsha said just moments earlier that he would not allow her to leave and defended himself on the suggestion posed by a journalist after calls on social media for her to leave, saying their only mistake had been on administrative issues.
The two also repeatedly denied having romantic relations.
At the briefing, Wodumo’s face reflected heartache and disappointment – she displayed the personality of a rather shy Bongekile, not the bubbly Babes known to the public.
“I know that people are watching everything I do, I get shocked when I log on to social media and find people discussing me, even the little things that happen in my life.
“It does get to me, but I have to ignore it,” she said.
According to the West Ink Records management, they will be announcing a PR firm to handle their public affairs soon, but the whole visa drama was due to a communications breakdown between themselves and the BET organisers.
Asked about this, Wodumo said she was more disappointed than angry and had been looking forward to her first international trip for her first global awards nomination.
“I am just lost for words, it does hurt. We tried everything to sort out the visa but it didn’t work.”