Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha make sweet mu­sic again

Mampintsha and Babes Wodumo seem to have put their rocky past be­hind them and are mak­ing sweet mu­sic again – but is that all?


WILL it be a case of sec­ond time lucky in love for two of the big­gest per­son­al­i­ties on the Mzansi gqom mu­sic scene?

That’s the ques­tion that’s had fans buzzing as Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha an­nounced a brand-new col­lab­o­ra­tion, Um­phabazo, fol­low­ing a roller­coaster ride of a year.

There were ru­mours of an en­gage­ment, gos­sip about mar­riage and even whis­pers of a preg­nancy be­fore al­le­ga­tions of abuse ap­peared to end the ro­mance.

Now they’re seem­ingly back in busi­ness – and it seems the flames of ro­mance have been rekin­dled too. We look at the pair’s wild past and how they’re still stand­ing.


Babes (24), real name Bongek­ile Sime­lane, and Mampintsha (36) aka Mandla Ma­phu­mulo met in 2013 when she fea­tured as a dancer in Big Nuz’s mu­sic video for their track Hawaii.

Not long af­ter, Babes be­came a house­hold name with her 2016 smash sin­gle Wololo and she set tongues wag­ging when she was ru­moured to be dat­ing Mampintsha, a mem­ber of Big Nuz.

There was no deny­ing the West Ink record la­bel owner was an in­flu­en­tial fig­ure when it came to her mu­sic, as he fea­tured on ev­ery song on her de­but al­bum Gqom Queen Vol 1.

Babes’ star rose and Mampintsha’s in­flu­ence on her ca­reer be­came ap­par­ent – es­pe­cially af­ter she signed to his West Ink Records and he be­came her man­ager.


Their re­la­tion­ship be­came a sub­ject of spec­u­la­tion, but Babes re­mained coy and re­fused to give away the name of the man in her life.

“I have a boyfriend,” she ad­mit­ted. “We have been to­gether for quite a while and he is a well-known artist but I will not say his name”.

By 2016, as Wololo shot to the top of the mu­sic charts, the cou­ple were spot­ted to­gether in pub­lic and pic­tures of their ro­mance started ap­pear­ing on both their so­cial me­dia ac­counts.

Fi­nally, their fans got the an­swer they’d been des­per­ate for: Mampintsha and

Babes were in­deed an item.


As the awards and nom­i­na­tions rolled in, so did the con­tro­ver­sies.

Last year Mampintsha failed to ap­ply for a visa in time for the songstress to travel to the United States to at­tend the BET Awards – where she was nom­i­nated in the best in­ter­na­tional act: Africa cat­e­gory.

Then there was the cou­ple’s in­fa­mous rant af­ter Babes left last year’s Sa­mas empty-handed, with Mampintsha ac­cus­ing “the pow­ers that be” of be­ing jeal­ous of Babes’ suc­cess.

Babes is now re­port­edly fac­ing a law­suit from pro­moter DJ Mkhukhwini af­ter be­ing a no-show at a per­for­mance in the UK in Oc­to­ber.

The gqom sen­sa­tion apol­o­gised, tweet­ing that she had to skip the show as she was “deal­ing with a few hic­cups with the pro­moter and mourn­ing the pass­ing of her grand­mother”.


This year was filled with ru­mours that the cou­ple were en­gaged, that Babes was preg­nant, that they’d se­cretly mar­ried . . . but all the gos­sip screeched to a halt with Babes’ shock rev­e­la­tion on Metro FM in May that she and Mampintsha had bro­ken up.

Babes would nei­ther con­firm nor deny al­le­ga­tions of abuse brought up by ra­dio host Masech­aba Ndlovu, but she did ad­mit they’d been en­gaged. But no, she wasn’t preg­nant and, in fact, they’d split up.

A storm en­sued as Mzansi weighed in on the abuse al­le­ga­tions. Mampintsha sub­se­quently told Masech­aba he was un­aware of the break-up and de­nied he’d ever hurt Babes. “Peo­ple must just pray with us and for us. These things are cor­rupt­ing Babes,” he said.

Babes’ dad, Rev­erend Mbon­geni Sime­lane, added fuel to the fire say­ing he didn’t know there was a re­la­tion­ship be­tween his daugh­ter and the West Ink founder.

“We were shocked to hear about it [the al­le­ga­tions of abuse] and we want the na­tion to know we are against any kind of abuse against women,” he said in a state­ment. “We were not even aware they were dat­ing.”


With Babes say­ing she’d moved on, spec­u­la­tion grew that her new love in­ter­est was Or­lando Pi­rates goal­keeper Bril­liant Khuzwayo (28).

Pic­tures of them hold­ing hands made the rounds on so­cial me­dia, but the for­mer Kaizer Chiefs goal­keeper was quick to squash ru­mours. “We are not dat­ing, we are just friends,” he in­sisted. “I think we should stop twist­ing things around. So what if we were hold­ing hands? So now I can’t hold my friend’s hand?” he posted on­line.

Khuzwayo also called for an end to the spec­u­la­tion by ask­ing fans to “grow with the times”. Babes also said they were “just friends”.


In a Metro FM in­ter­view, Babes said she “re­spected” Mampintsha but that was about it. “We work to­gether but things are not the same as they were in the begin­ning,” she added.

She said she was leav­ing his West Ink record la­bel to form her own, Wena Wodumo En­ter­tain­ment. Yet a few months later she re­vealed she was still with West Ink but owned Wena Wodumo En­ter­tain­ment, which Mampintsha helped her cre­ate.

“Mampintsha and I are fine. De­spite ev­ery­thing that has been said about us,

right (we’re fine). We’ve known each other be­fore all this and he’s helped me build Babes Wodumo. He also en­cour­ages me to be the best I can be.

“For ex­am­ple, just like he grew up and started West Ink, he gave me a chance to grow up and cre­ate Wena Wodumo En­ter­tain­ment,” she told TimesLive. “That is what men­tor­ship is about and what I hope to be for the peo­ple I will sign un­der my la­bel.”


De­spite the rocky road, it seem Babes and Mampintsha are more in love than ever – and this time there may in­deed be wed­ding bells. Mampintsha re­cently up­loaded a pic­ture of a di­a­mond ring and asked Babes if she would say “yes” if he pro­posed to her.

She replied, “Yes, my love” and added heart emo­jis. The cou­ple have also started shar­ing pho­tos of them­selves to­gether again, which they hadn’t done for months.

Babes, how­ever, will no longer be speak­ing pub­licly about her re­la­tion­ships, she’s said.

“Part of the big­gest lessons I learnt the hard way was not to talk about my per­sonal life,” she said. “That of­ten takes over and peo­ple are al­ways on your case about what’s hap­pen­ing next. You get over that topic and want to talk about work. It over­shad­ows what we are ac­tu­ally here to do.”

Babes and Mampintsha de­clined to be in­ter­viewed.

‘Mampintsha and I are fine. De­spite ev­ery­thing’

ABOVE: Babes was linked to Or­lando Pi­rates goal­keeper Bril­liant Khuzwayo af­ter her split from Mampintsha. ABOVE RIGHT: The West Ink founder and the Wololo hit­maker fu­elled en­gage­ment and preg­nancy ru­mours. RIGHT: Babes con­firmed they were en­gaged be­fore their break-up amid abuse al­le­ga­tions.

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