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
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