Singer and actress Kelly Khumalo was planning to have the name of her slain boyfriend, Senzo Meyiwa, tattooed on her body to honour his memory, but decided against it because it may affect her future relationships. Instead, she wrote a song called Senzo, dedicated to the late captain of Bafana Bafana.
She recently finished recording an album, titled My Truth, which is set for release in the next few weeks. On the emotional track about Meyiwa, the extroverted singer pours her heart out and declares that “no one will replace Senzo”.
In the song, she tells of how they wanted to build a family, raise children and grow old together. She further reveals that she wished she could tell Meyiwa how much she loved him just one more time. “I thought I was going to get a tattoo, but it was not going to do anyone justice. At some point, I am going to marry or date someone. I never want them to feel that they would never stand a chance to win my heart as far as the relationship is concerned,” Khumalo told City Press this week.
She has also made it clear that no man will replace her lost love. “Senzo will remain a special person in my life. I am not trying to replace him.”
She admits that writing the song took her back to the pain she felt on October 26 2014, when the soccer star died, ostensibly during a botched armed robbery at her mother’s home in Vosloorus, on the East Rand. “You have to be in the moment if you are going to write a sincere song. It took me back and it was quite an emotional song. But it needed to be done,” she says. “Have you ever wished you could say certain things to a person who has passed away, and you never got a chance to say those things?”
Two weeks before the second anniversary of Meyiwa’s death, police spokesperson Brigadier Mashadi Selepe declined to provide an update on the murder investigation, saying “matters of this nature will not be processed through the media”.
Besides the track Senzo, City Press listened to the song titled Tingo Khwezi – named after her daughter by Meyiwa and her son by jailed rapper Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye – ahead of the album’s release.
The song is also dedicated to her children. Khumalo’s face lights up when she speaks about them. “My kids are lovely; they are growing each day. Christian is going to junior school next year. Tingo is a better [version of] me,” she says.
She blushes when asked whether she is in a relationship. “I am single by choice. That is not to say there aren’t people who would love to be in a relationship with me. I do not want a man who wants me; I want a man who I want,” she insists.
Khumalo’s younger sister, Zandile, recently married Mhlo Gumede, the communication manager of record label Mabala Noise. Is she going to follow her sister down the aisle? “Yes, I do believe in love and marriage. I am going to get married one day. I will never give up on love. One day, I will find the particular guy I want.”
Khumalo says that she has been swamped by men asking her out on dates lately, but has declined them all. “I do not want to find myself in a relationship; I want a relationship that I want. We women also have the power to choose,” she says.
Last Sunday, Khumalo set tongues wagging when she arrived at the Gauteng Sports Awards dressed in a glamorous jacket and cheeky micro shorts by designer Khothatso Laurence Tsotetsi. It looked as if she had left the house without pants. “When I saw my outfit for the first time, I said to myself, ‘I am going to wear the outfit as it is’. It worked like a charm. “I haven’t done this in a long time. If you are going to be a star and blend with everyone, what is the purpose of being called a star? A star has to stand out,” she says.
For those men determined to win Khumalo’s hand, she describes what she looks for in a man. “I need to have a real man in my life, not little boys who want to be relevant at my expense. I need a man who is honest, content with who he is, who will not try to compete with me and will not dim my light.”
Someone, she says, like Meyiwa. “He was honest about his emotions and an open book. You would feel when he was annoyed or excited.”
Khumalo’s new album indicates that she has a new sound to go with her single life, one that is more mature and soulful than her previous albums. “It has been quite an interesting journey. When I started with this album, I already had a title in mind. I love to speak my truth, I thrive on the truth. This album is my truth.”
She describes her previous albums as “ethnic”. “I had allowed [former producer] Chicco Twala to be hands on [with the previous albums], because I had been fascinated by him as a producer. I wanted to learn certain things from him,” she says.
This time around, she has been hands on to “make sure my truth is well told to the people and defines who I am”.
“I never showed the naughty side of me. With this album, people are going to see the other side of me.”
Khumalo has collaborated on My Truth with producers Robbie Malinga, Chris J and Mojalefa “Mjakes” Thebe, as well as musician Ntando Bangani. “I was born to do this – I am one of the best musicians in the country. One thing I can brag about is my talent. Even if I am gone, I will take it to my grave. No one will ever sound like me.”