They are two of South Africa’s most prominent music couples and in the news most of the time. To leave out their names in a list of truly important Gqom artistes in South Africa is to commit a musical heresy.
Over the past few years, this celebrity couple seems to have perfected a strategy of remaining in the public’s consciousness and publicizing their songs and albums by using some “back door routes” – what many would call publicity stunts.
For instance, back in 2017, Babes Wodumo said her song “Gandaganda” was stolen. She took to social media to complain (in a video) that an unmastered version of the song was lost when she misplaced a flash drive containing the song. She later said the song was playing at taxi parks.
Not done, she also asked on social media for whoever had the song to send it to her so that she would delete it using a “special link.” She added: “I’m hurt because the song hasn’t been mastered yet.”
South Africans were vastly amused and made a joke of her statement to delete the song remotely from a flash drive, which was technologically impossible at the time – and even now.
A user going by the Twitter handle @HiMinaTheo tweeted: “Babes Wodumo is living in 2090 she uses a link to delete a song inside a USB.”
Muso Somizi, the mastermind of “Ngibonile” and several others, even joined in the joke, saying he was close to finding the flash drive – you may say USB stick – in faraway Los Angeles, United States of America. “South Africa hang in there. I’m close to finding babes wodumo’s USB in LA,” his tweet reads.
“Gandaganda” got all the publicity Babes Wodumo had wanted – and more. DJ Luvas (real name Luvuyo Njeje) and DJ Pluto (real name) approached the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), with a complaint that the song was stolen from them.
“Babes knows the truth. The title of her song and the duration are the same as ours. Only the beats and lyrics are different. She stole our song, which we released on 6 April,” DJ Luvas had told City Press back then.
Truth or not, Babes Wodumo’s publicity gimmick paid off and “Gandaganda” did well in the market.
She repeated the same gimmick later this year, but with a different script: alleged abuse in the hands of her beau Mampintsha.
South Africa has a high rate of women abuse – or domestic abuse, or domestic violence, or what you call it. So when news circulates that a celebrity of the “Wololo” hitmaker’s status is abused, the country is bound to talk and look forward to what the abused herself would say.
Babes Wodumo did not disappoint. She fired out a single and her alleged abuser Mampintsha did the same. And everyone hurried to listen to what both had to say in their songs. The fever of expectation was high.
And then it emerged that the abuse allegation was totally fictitious, as Babes Wodumo completely denied Mampintsha ever abused her. Why then had she spoken about being abused?
One may well also ask: Why had she gone on the set of Metro FM and let Masechaba Ndlovu rant about her (Babes Wodumo’s) abuse in the hands of Mampintsha? Was she forced to the set and her legs tied? Falsely speaking about abuse, a scourge in South Africa, just to promote a song is entirely in bad taste.
Masechaba Ndlovu’s co-host Mo Flava (real name Moeti Tsiki) would rue the whole show later, calling it an epic fail. Funny enough Babes Wodumo would later rant about needing an apology from the radio hosts. Huh?
Mampintsha may well be pushing that tradition as he marches into retirement – or so he says. 2018 will be his last year as a musician, he says. He would quit the scene and would leave his fans in the hands of his protégé Babes Wodumo. But he would return “if you ever need me to come back‚ just in case you are bored‚ just call me and tell me what you need me to do and I’ll listen.”
Mampintsha, who released the track “Phakamisa,” featuring Campmasters, back in October, has just released an EP titled “The Gentle Don.” He is on fire to drop as many bars as possible before the year runs out.
But is he really quitting the scene? Would he really quit the scene? If he should quit now and then come back, how can it be determined that the people had truly clamoured for his return, and that he had not influenced the clamour?
Is this not another publicity gimmick? Share your thoughts in the comment section.