Kelly Khumalo on therapy, healing and Senzo


A weekly up-close and personal interview with some of the best-known artists, influencers and personalities in South Africa and beyond. Today our guest is Kelly Khumalo.

FILE: South African singer Kelly Khumalo. Photo: Kelly Khumalo/Instagram

Charismatic, controversial and perhaps misunderstood – Kelly Khumalo remains one of South Africa’s most popular personalities. Not one to shy away from drama, the award-winning singer, actress and businesswoman continues to dominate TV screens with her reality show Life with Kelly Khumalo, now in its third season. The show offers an intimate look at the glamorous, fast-paced but often turbulent life of celebrity beyond the sensational headlines. The vocal powerhouse gets the chance to speak her truth and give viewers an unvarnished account of her life.

In conversation with Amy MacIver, Khumalo praised the show for its authenticity and honest portrayal of a black South African family.

We come from a culture that sweeps things under the rug. It affects us later in life. With this show, I wanted all South Africans to find comfort in the truth…find comfort in disagreements and deal with them.

Kelly Khumalo, singer and actress

It is a journey of family, self-discovery, spirituality, love and forgiveness.

Kelly Khumalo, singer and actress

Family dynamics and relationship breakdown are the dominant themes. The show seeks to normalize therapy and counseling, which are sometimes stigmatized within the black community.

We have seen the cracks over the years. The mother and daughter relationship [with Kelly’s mother] has been on the rocks, but that’s something we didn’t deal with until we had to go to therapy. We were unaware of the scars we gave ourselves.

Kelly Khumalo, singer and actress

Khumalo is constantly in the spotlight – for good and bad reasons. She is fully aware of the scrutiny and pressure that comes with being a public figure and feels no pressure to expose her life on this level.

I am where I am supposed to be. I feel it is God’s will that I had to share my whole life and that of my family. It’s not so much about me, but about the impact on other families.

Kelly Khumalo, singer and actress

Beyond the facade of fame, adoration, glamor and wealth, life in the public eye is never easy. Khumalo admits she “didn’t have it all figured out”.

What I have is God. If I have God, I have the source of everything. I just do my best. And your best might be to allow yourself to be weak. And I let my weaknesses show. I am human, I am not perfect. It is a work in progress. People shouldn’t just admire, they should also be motivated to face their own journey.

Kelly Khumalo, singer and actress

But Khumalo has been a divisive figure in the story of the death of former Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa. The singer was in a relationship with Meyiwa and the couple had a child together. Khumalo, his mother, sister and several others had been with Meyiwa at his mother’s house the night he was murdered on October 26, 2014.

Eight years after her death, Khumalo has been a maligned figure, amid accusations that she and those in the house that night covered up details of her death. Khumalo is thick-skinned and says she is unswayed by the relentless public criticism and social media attacks.

God gave me time to deal with what happened to me. God healed me. I allowed myself to be at peace and accept what happened to me. With the lawsuit, I will not maintain the noise which disturbs my peace. God will take care of the rest, as far as the trial is concerned.

Kelly Khumalo, singer and actress

I didn’t just lose my boyfriend, I lost my daughter’s father. This is very personal to us.

Kelly Khumalo, singer and actress

With the murder trial underway, all eyes are on whether Khumalo will testify and what she will reveal. Since the start of the trial, Khumalo and his legal team have had a watchdog mandate to keep tabs on court developments “to ensure justice is done.”

I hear about the circus going on in the trial. But that doesn’t bother me. My lawyer and I deal with things with integrity.

Kelly Khumalo, singer and actress

However, the dark cloud of Meyiwa’s death continues to cast its shadow over Khumalo. Some believe the musician’s image has been damaged by the unanswered questions surrounding his murder. But Khumalo is convinced that she is not stigmatized.

I was Kelly Khumalo before that and I still am. Life does not affect me. What people think of me is their own opinion, it has nothing to do with me. People are broken in this country. So anything that has an element of evil, they use it to escape their reality. So I’m not going to drag this into my peaceful life.

Kelly Khumalo, singer and actress

His relationship with the Meyiwa family is a somewhat sensitive subject. Khumalo declined to divulge details, saying it would be covered on his show.

Despite all the controversy, Khumalo’s star continues to rise. Besides her numerous entrepreneurial activities, she has just finished another album. This will be followed by a tour and a visual and audio album later this year.

The new season of Life with Kelly Khumalo is currently airing on Showmax.

Scroll up for the interview.

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