Flamboyant actor, choreographer and aspiring singer Somizi Mhlongo had to put aside his diva persona when he was left stranded and forced to hitchhike 75km to an airport.
And now Mhlongo, who is popular for his Gigi alter ego and Somgaga monicker, has told the KwaZulu-Natal promoter – who he blames for his misfortunes last weekend – to “shove his business up his a**e”.
The trouble started last Saturday when Mhlongo refused to honour a performance at the uMhlathuze Cultural Festival in Richards Bay after promoter Mthokozisi Shange failed to pay him the remaining 50% of the booking fee.
Mhlongo’s payment demand is standard industry practice.
“This man ran away from us, never took our calls and, worse, he didn’t even book our return flights, which included my 14 band members and dancers.”
The inaugural festival also had Siphokazi, The Soil, Zakwe, Shota, Bongi, Thokozani Langa, Bukiwe, Nqubeko and Ntokozo Mbambo on the bill.
But unlike everyone else, Mhlongo’s performance fee was said to be sponsored by a “private businessperson” who allegedly claimed to have “challenges” paying the remainder.
Said Mhlongo: “We had signed a contract with the promoters that 50% of the pay was sent to confirm their booking, then the remaining 50% was to be given to us before we boarded flights for Richards Bay.”
Shange, however, claimed he neither ran away nor dodged Mhlongo and his manager, Themba Zuma.
He said: “Somizi’s booking was sponsored by a private business individual who made the first 50% payment to them. But days closer to the show the person told us they had challenges getting the remaining funds.”
This forced Mhlongo to bail on the concert 10 minutes before getting on stage.
The following morning, Mhlongo shelled out R1?900 for a shuttle from the Southern Sun hotel to King Shaka International Airport, which broke down halfway to the destination.
“On realising there were no return flights booked, I booked online for about R1?200 per person,” he said.
But the frustration didn’t end in KwaZulu-Natal.
On landing at OR Tambo International Airport, Mhlongo was forced to cough up R1?050 for three cabs to take them to Lanseria International Airport, where they had left their cars.
“I don’t care what Mthokozisi is saying. I don’t want a relationship with him any more, this was the first and last time I work with him,” said Mhlongo.
“He must stop playing the victim here. He is dodgy and he can shove his business up his a**e.”