Kelly Khu­malo, her sis­ter Zandie and their mom on how they keep strong and over­come prob­lems in life

The Khu­ma­los open up about how they have stuck to­gether as a fam­ily

Move! - - FRONT PAGE - By Bethuel Mbatha

FOL­LOW­ING the re­lease of her de­but al­bum, Izikhali Za­maN­tungwa, song­bird, Zandie Khu­malo, is in de­mand. Feed­back has been pos­i­tive, with some peo­ple even pit­ting her against her fa­mous sis­ter, Kelly Khu­malo. “The re­cep­tion for my solo al­bum has been un­be­liev­able. Scores of peo­ple are down­load­ing and buy­ing it. When­ever I’m out at a gig, the re­sponse is phe­nom­e­nal. Peo­ple are singing along to my songs and it’s such an amaz­ing feel­ing,” says Zandie.

BE­ING COM­PARED TO KELLY

Zandie says be­ing com­pared to Kelly doesn't faze her. “I guess com­par­isons are in­evitable. So­ci­ety loves pit­ting peo­ple against each other, but there’s no need for com­par­i­son. We are equally tal­ented and I’m here to make my mark as much as Kelly has been given a chance to make her mark. So re­gard­less of what peo­ple think, it doesn’t bother me,” says Zandie, who is mar­ried to busi­ness­man, Mhlo Gumede.

“Granted, Kelly has been suc­cess­ful for a long time and I’ve al­ways looked up to her. But I don’t re­mem­ber a point where I sat down with the idea of study­ing her vo­cal gym­nas­tics and check­ing out her moves. As much as peo­ple are born in the same fam­ily, we are bound to be dif­fer­ent. Even iden­ti­cal twins are dif­fer­ent.”

That the sis­ters are joined at the hip is ev­i­dent. It’s also clear that there’s no sib­ling ri­valry. The sis­ters are best friends and get along pretty well.

“We grew up in a home where we were taught to share,” she says.

“So we shared ev­ery­thing thing we had. The love we have for each other is gen­uine; it’s un­con­di­tional. If there’s some­thing wrong with her, I’ll be the first one to no­tice it and vice versa. So we’ve al­ways had each other’s backs. We love each other.”

ON THE SENZO IS­SUE

Zandie was nat­u­rally dis­turbed when it was im­plied on so­cial me­dia that Kelly could be a sus­pect in the mur­der case of the Or­lando Pi­rates goal­keeper, Senzo Meyiwa.

“Peo­ple will think what­ever they want to think. We know what hap­pened and the po­lice know what hap­pened. And if peo­ple have any doubts, they will have to sort that out with the po­lice. The po­lice would have ar­rested us on the day of the in­ci­dent if we were sus­pects. So it sim­ply means that we have noth­ing to do with it. We are also vic­tims in all of this,” she says.

About three months ago, the is­sue of Senzo resur­faced, with the former Po­lice Min­is­ter, Fik­ile Mbalula, and Chicco Twala fight­ing over details of the case. Chicco lashed out at Fik­ile and the po­lice for their tar­di­ness in the case. The po­lice haven’t solved the case after years of in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The Senzo is­sue has been hard for Kelly, who lost the fa­ther of her child.

PRAYER HAS AL­WAYS BEEN THE FOUN­DA­TION OF THE FAM­ILY

Asked if she was wor­ried about her sis­ter, Zandile says, “In life, you some­times look at things and think this is too much, but God will never give us more than we can han­dle. God knows ex­actly what we can han­dle. Peo­ple usu­ally say angeke aku­nike umth­walo on­gaphezu kwa­mandla akho (God will never give you more than you can han­dle). When it comes to my sis­ter, I know that she al­ways has it on point, espe­cially when it comes to emo­tions and other things. So I am not wor­ried.”

KELLY’S MOM ON RAIS­ING IN­DE­PEN­DENT GIRLS

Zandie’s mother, Ntombi Khu­malo, doesn’t want to be drawn into the dis­cus­sion around Senzo’s mur­der case.

Ntombi, who is a pro­fes­sional chef, ap­pre­ci­ates the fact that Zandie and Kelly work in a very hos­tile in­dus­try. She knows that they need to have thick skins in or­der to make it in an in­dus­try full of one-hit won­ders.

These days, she sleeps peace­fully know­ing that she raised in­de­pen­dent girls who can stand up and do things for them­selves.

As a young mother, she re­solved to teach her daugh­ters about the power of prayer and in­stilled val­ues in them.

“Prayer has al­ways been the foun­da­tion of the fam­ily. It’s what I set out to in­stil in my chil­dren. The Lord is the keeper of our fam­ily. As much as I ex­posed them to spir­i­tu­al­ity, I never tried to hide them away from our tra­di­tions and cul­ture,” she says.

PROUD OF HER DAUGH­TERS

Ntombi is proud of the strides both her daugh­ters have made in the in­dus­try although she ad­mits that she didn’t think that Zandie would wind up in show­biz.

“With what Kelly went through in the in­dus­try, I have to ad­mit that I didn't see Zandie get­ting into show­biz. As much as I knew she was tal­ented, I didn’t see her wind­ing up in show­biz. She got her de­gree in mar­ket­ing and I thought she was go­ing to take that di­rec­tion,” she says.

“But the mu­sic bug got her and I guess she couldn't ig­nore her call­ing. I al­ways knew she would be suc­cess­ful in what­ever path she chose, so I was go­ing to sup­port her in what­ever ca­reer she chose.”

Pro­duced by the award-win­ning Mjakes Thebe, Zandie's al­bum was a labour of love even though it took her a long time to record her own mu­sic. “More than any­thing, I was wait­ing on God’s time,” says Zandie.

NOT GET­TING MAR­RIED

Kelly rub­bishes re­ports that she’ll be get­ting mar­ried soon.

Asked if there is any truth to this, Kelly says, “Please, don’t ask me about that.”

Kelly is cur­rently hav­ing a great time work­ing on Gau TV’s Love and Mat­ri­mony, where she re­cently fin­ished shoot­ing her sec­ond season of the show.

“I’m still find­ing my feet, but I’ve learned that when you are des­tined for some­thing and when God has cho­sen you to do cer­tain things, it doesn’t mat­ter whether you qual­ify ac­cord­ing to worldly stan­dards or not. If God says you are doing it, then you’ll do it,” says Kelly.

Ntombi Khu­malo (CEN­TRE) says she taught her daugh­ter Zandie and Kelly about the power of prayer and their tra­di­tions and cul­ture

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