What was supposed to be a wonderful week of introducing her fiancé to her parents ended in tears for musician Zahara after she missed her flight back to Johannesburg, following an altercation with airport staff on Friday night.
The Loliwe hitmaker was filmed in an eight-second video, which City Press has seen, in which she and her fiancé Mpho Xaba were blocked from going through the boarding gates by security.
The award-winning star has vowed to take on ground floor staff at the King Phalo Airport in East London, Eastern Cape, over what she says was intentional sabotage and disrespect on their part.
Zahara (real name Bulelwa Mkutukana) yesterday said that it was not the first-time airport security had prevented her from boarding a flight for one reason or another.
She said: I told them where to get off and I made it clear that I’m going to report them. I’m still on the road and I’m going to report that they told me the aircraft had already left when it was still there. I could see it
She said she had arrived at the airport in time but was delayed by ground staff who refused her to check in her bag.
“I was talking to a lady with blonde hair who gave me an attitude. I got there early, first, but they told me they weren’t yet open for check-ins, so I did an online check-in. When I went to hand my luggage in, they said I had to pay for it. I said that was fine and I would do so.
"Then they told me that the small hand luggage I had on me would cost me R600. For small hand luggage? I again said that was fine and I’d pay for it, which was when they told me the flight had left without me,” she said.
Zahara said she then proceeded to the boarding gates, where she could see that the aircraft was still on the ground. Other passengers who were on standby were being let in, while she was held back.
“They let someone who was on standby walk past me and go in while I was standing right there. It wasn’t the first time they’d done this to me. I’m going to take the matter further. I’m going to report them to the airport management,” she said.
However, another passenger who shot the video said Zahara had caused a scene at the airport and blocked the boarding gates after she was prevented from going through them.
Her sister Bandezwa, who was with her at the time, said the star had lost her temper because it was not the first time she had experienced such treatment.
“They always have a story about her. I don’t know why. She only spoke [rudely] to them because they were giving her attitude. She was just responding to them. She blocked the boarding gates because they were being rude to her, so she was annoyed. They were provoking her,” she said.
She added that Zahara had lost money because they had refused to book her on another flight, forcing her to make alternative arrangements.
“We’re driving her to Chief Dawid Stuurman airport in Gqeberha now.
She tried to tell them they were being rude to her and even to tell their manager who was on duty about it, but they all ignored her
Bandezwa said that the family had met their new son- and brother-in-law, despite the bad ending.
Zahara got engaged at a surprise party last month to Xaba, who is reportedly a wealthy engineer from Gauteng.
At the time of going to print, Acsa spokesperson Lulama Mchunu could not be reached for comment.