When she burst onto the music scene, she could do no wrong. She was a talented, young musician and dancer in a genre that was mostly dominated by men, and she was making her mark.
Her performances were often sold out; her breakout song, Wololo, quickly turned into an anthem; and South African men declared her “the nation’s girlfriend”.
It wasn’t long before she became known as the queen of gqom.
Then, just as her star was reaching the top, Babes Wodumo started slipping.
Missed performances here and there, then rumours of drug use and the big abuse claims against her manager and boyfriend Mandla “Mampintsha” Maphumulo (37).
Now Babes’ name is associated with controversy. And things didn’t improve after her recent interview with Kwa Mam’Mkhize reality TV star Tha Simelane, where Babes opened up about the pressures that come with fame, especially at a young age.
She wasn’t 100% sober during the interview, which fans could clearly see.
“I’m drunk, but it’s fine,” she told Tha.
Some fans wrote her off.
But Babes, real name Bongekile Sime lane (25), hasn’t given up on her dream to “entertain people and be the biggest star in the country”, she tells DRUM.
She has wrapped three music video shoots. One is for her upcoming single Lamont, named after the township in Kwa Zulu-Natal where she was raised for most of her childhood. It’s also the leading single from her upcoming album, Idando Kazi.
The second music video is for a song by Mampintsha called Sduku Duku, and the third is for What Time Is It by Mampintsha featuring Babes, Bhar and Danger.
“I can’t wait for my full album to be released. People will get to see me in my element,” she says.
“I am Babes – nothing has changed. I love myself the way I am and I have no regrets about the decisions I’ve made in my life,” she adds.
“I would not change anything about myself. I believe in God’s decisions and this is perfect.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
I AM ENOUGH
Ten years after being set alight, Thembi Maphanga is living life to the fullest
Stranger Than Fiction
For actor Mangaliso Ngema and his daughter Khosi Ngema, her role in Blood & Water was like watching their family’s real-life story unfold
The Big Clean Up
Whenever a Covid-19 case is confirmed at a shop, they call in the deep-cleaners. We find out exactly how they disinfect stores and supermarkets
‘They Lived For Each Other'
This Cape Town teen’s parents died from Covid-19 on the same day. Now she’s alone and battling the virus too
Drum speaks to two volunteers in the Covid-19 vaccine trial and the professor heading the team in Africa
I'm Back & Better!
Babes Wodumo shares what she’s been up to in lockdown – and there’s some new music on the horizon
More Than Just Baby Blues
Here’s everything you need to know about postpartum depression
I Was Raped By A Pastor
His accusations against a well-known man of the cloth turned an Eastern Cape man’s life into turmoil but now more victims have spoken out
My Fight With Life And Death
More Covid-19 patients, too few beds and staff, constant sanitising and personal fears – a Western Cape doctor shares her experience
Not An Easy Ride
Taxi commuters and industry players tell DRUM what’s driving them to defy lockdown rules