SHE was the aspiring sexy, young singer, while he was the music powerhouse and mentor. On paper their partnership looked perfect but it didn’t take long for ugly rumours to start to surface. He was abusing her, many alleged, and she couldn’t break free. Then came the bombshell interview on Metro FM that propelled everything into the public eye…
Babes Wodumo was under the impression she was there to talk about her new music but instead host Masechaba Ndlovu addressed the elephant in the room.
“I said I wasn’t going to do this, but Babes, you know, I think it needs to be said because I hate to see a young woman as talented, as smart as you, living in so much fear,” she said.
“You don’t have to answer this question but we all know, we’ve heard from multiple sources, we’ve witnessed the fact you have been physically abused by Mampintsha. That he has beaten you in your relationship.”
There was stunned silence from Babes. All she said when asked what she’d do was to answer in isiZulu, “God will fight my battles.”
But that wasn’t the end of it. A few days later Mampintsha called the radio station to share his side of the story on-air. He refused to answer questions and went on a rampage of how he and Babes belong together. She was brought into his life to make him better, to improve him in everything he does, he claimed.
“I know Babes. She wasn’t alright when she was on your show, she was shaking, she didn’t know what was going to happen. Elihlazo (What’s being spoken about my name), they should have called me to speak to me while she was there.”
The interview with Babes, he continued, sounded like an “ambush”.
“There’s a third person involved who’s trying to get between us. Everyone has problems in love, it’s not always smooth. There’s never been reports of me punching her or breaking her leg. Even I was shocked at the allegations.”
He and Babes have history, he added. “I met her a long time ago. In fact God gave her to me. She’s been in my life for a long time. I didn’t even know she was a singer or a dancer. I just loved her.”
Their break-up came as a surprise to him – he first heard about it on radio, he shared. “People must just pray with us and for us. These things are corrupting Babes.”
Mampintsha also had harsh words for Masechaba. “You talk too much,” he said and constantly cut off the radio host as she spoke.
“You are speaking like I’m dating you,” he told Masechaba. “Are your relationships okay? Why are you guys fighting with me? You don’t know where we come from.”
The discussion left her shaken, Masechaba later said on-air. “After the conversation with Mampintsha I fully understand why Babes Wodumo is afraid . . . I am afraid”.
‘I hate to see a young woman as talented as you living in so much fear’
THE Wololo hitmaker has since gone to ground but concerned friends paint a picture of a manipulative relationship driven by an older, more powerful man taking advantage of a young, star-struck singer.
A friend close to the gqom queen tells DRUM her relationship with Mampintsha has been fraught with tension. “He hits her and he has sworn at her, even in public spaces,” reveals the friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
According to a colleague who works with Babes, “it’s about time” Babes left Mampintsha.
“This has been happening for a very long time. Many people know about it. But then you couldn’t tell Babes what to do because she loves Mampintsha.”
Mampintsha “decides on what Babes does, where she goes and who she speaks to,” she adds. “He thinks he owns her – he controls her.”
As the drama swirled and the country was polarised, one man who’s stunned by the allegations is Babes’ father.
Reverend Mbongeni Simelane says he thought Mampintsha is a decent guy. “I know Mampintsha to be a good and respectable guy. I never expected this.” He first got wind of the abuse allegations on radio, he says. “I feel left out, she’s my child and other people seem to know more about her than me.” His waiting to hear f rom Bab e s bu t according to another friend of the singer, Babes confided in her sister, Nondu, about the abuse. Nondu accompanied Babes to the apartment she shared with Mampintsha in Fourways, Johannesburg, the friend says, to collect her belongings because they had broken up the Thursday before the Metro FM interview. After fetching her things Nondu and Babes went to a hospital. “We all knew Mampintsha hit Babes, but we didn’t think it became bad,” the friend says. Nondu was so outraged at the alleged abuse she wanted to stab Mampintsha. “I’m writing this in tears because of the hurt I’m feeling,” she wrote on social media.
“Babes has dated Mampintsha for years until they got engaged last year. I was happy but you know your sibling and you know when things are not right, but she (Babes) said she was right and I also thought maybe I was crazy.
“But for the last few weeks she called me to the side and told me about the constant abuse Mampintsha has put her through. I went absolutely crazy to the point where I wanted to stab him . . .”
MEANWHILE the question of whether they are still together rages on. However, when reached for comment, Babes said they’re no longer a couple. “I was engaged, but I’m no longer engaged to Mampintsha. Love and work would make us fight all the time. It became really bad,” she said.
It’s a far cry from when she and Mampintsha met on the set of a music video. Babes, then 17, was booked to appear in the music video for Big Nuz’s song Hawaii.
“He saw my dance moves and he got my number from my friend,” she told Drum..
“I received a call inviting me into the studio. I went with seven of my friends because I didn’t trust him. But I realised he meant business and we started working.”
Under his wing, she released her debut album in 2016 – taking the industry by storm with smash hits like Wololo, Mercedes and Umngan’wami.
Her newfound popularity saw the young singer become the star of the record label – Babes raked in music award nomination after nomination.
And behind the scenes love seemed to bloom. Soon the then 17-year-old was sporting a ring on her engagement finger, but wouldn’t confirm Mampintsha had asked her to marry him.
However, when rumours of a pregnancy recently surfaced, Babes was quick to set the record straight. “Who will dance vosho if I fall pregnant? I will never fall pregnant anytime soon. Please relax people,” she said in a video shared online.
She respects Mampintsha, and will continue to be business partners but she’s no longer in a romantic relationship with him and says she’s moved on.
But in his on-air interview Mampintsha maintained they’re still together and he knows nothing of this separation – prompting observers to later note he sounded obsessed with her.
“I will never stop loving her,” he said. “I’m going to marry her.”