Bub­bly Babes Wo­dumo de­flated by visa fi­asco

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - SIPHELELE BUTHELEZI

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.”

Babes Wo­dumo

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