Babes Wodumo’s rise to fame

Babes Wodumo (Photo: Gallo)
Babes Wodumo (Photo: Gallo)

SINGER Babes Wodumo’s hit single, Wololo, featuring Mampintsha has become Mzansi’s new national anthem. Babes Wodumo, real name Bongekile Simelane, has won the hearts of many music fans in Mzansi and has become the talk of the town. The singer, from Lamontville in KwaZulu-Natal, who become a music sensation overnight, says she is not ashamed of who she is and where she comes from.  “I'm very proud of being a young woman from ekasi,” she says.                                 


Babes says she knew that she wanted to be in the entertainment industry since she was seven years old. “Dancing is my therapy. Growing up, all I did was to act and dance. It was my world, the place where I could be the real Babes,” she says. “I dance when I'm happy, sad or disappointed,” she says. Babes goes on to say that dancing is what got her stage name. “Dancing got me the stage name Babes Wodumo. I loved to dance so much that when I danced, people would leave everything and watch me,” she giggles. “I didn’t realise that I was good. I learnt dance moves from the guys from the township. Truth be told, nobody can dance better than guys from ekasi.” She adds, “People loved to see me dance, so they would scream Babes Wodumo and it became my stage name.”  


Babes says that if she had not been part of a group of models who were selected for Big Nuz' music video, she would not have been the talk of the town. “I was selected by my agent to be part of the Big Nuz music video of Hawaii. We were dancing and having fun. Everyone loved my dance moves and that's when Mampintsha saw me. From then on, we became good friends,” says the dancer. “One day we were at the West Ink Studio and they were playing a song. Well, I’m Babes so what else can I do than dance to a good beat? While dancing, I was shouting ‘Desha s’deshile’. I kept saying it over and over again. Then Mampintsha said, this is a song. He said we should record it and we did." According to Entertainment Monitoring Africa, Babes’ song, Wololo, is the fourth most-played local song on radio in South Africa. “To be honest, I never thought my song would be this big. I'm grateful to the Lord who carried me to where I am now.”


Some people have come out to criticise Babes’ music, calling it "rachet". However, hip-hop singer Cassper Nyovest seems to disagree. He took to Twitter to show his support for Babes, even comparing her to the late Lebo Mathosa. “It’s humbling to know that I’m being compared to my favourite music icon,” she says. Babes is also grateful for the support she has been getting from her fans. “I don’t have fans but I have a family because they are here to see me grow in the industry and be part of my journey. They support and encourage me to work harder,” she says. For Babes, the sky is the limit. “People can expect more crazy music and collaborations with wellknown Mzansi artists," she adds

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