By Bruce Ndlovu
Last month, Berita Khumalo was forced to break out of her social media shell. Usually, the songbird exudes positivity on social media platforms, giving a full picture of her music and on rare occasions, glimpses of her private life.
Feuds or disputes of any kind are alien to her timeline and rarely, if ever, has she had any friction with anyone in the dog eat dog that is the music industry.
However, last month, as fires raged in other circles of the South African music industry, Berita found herself catching some of the heat too. As temperatures rose, the Zimbabwean songbird knew she had to respond.
“There are some people on this app that think they can come for me just because my husband has a public persona,” she wrote on Twitter. “You are crossing the line now. Please keep my name out of it. Respect please. Only love and light from my end. I don’t have time for nonsense!”
For many fans, especially in Zimbabwe, that impassioned post was the first time they got an idea who Khumalo’s husband is. Thus, the post became an introduction to Nota Baloyi, the self-proclaimed authority in South African music who officially became tied to Khumalo in matrimony last year during a virtual wedding ceremony.
While he might be a largely unknown quantity to the singer’s fans in Zimbabwe, in Mzansi Baloyi is constantly in the headlines, feuding with various musicians, most bitterly with those he discovered and nurtured himself.
At the time of Berita’s post, Baloyi was embroiled in a bitter public dispute with Makwa, a producer largely credited for crafting multi-platinum selling rapper Kwesta’s lucrative sound.
A revelation from the star producer that he had not received some of his royalties from artistes that he produced for set him on a collision course with the man who calls himself “The Authority”, the arbiter of all things good about Mzansi music.
Makwa was signed to Raplyf, a label Baloyi founded alongside Kwesta and music entrepreneur Leroy Khoza.
“As for Makwa, he got paid very well and he misused his money buying cars for fun. He made millions and should’ve been able to buy a small house or extend his grandmother’s house,” Baloyi said.
The drama would not end there. As the feud between Baloyi and his former protege simmered, superstar producer DJ Maphorisa decided to lift the lead on allegations that Raplyf, with Baloyi at the helm, did not pay for Ngud, Kwesta’s career defining single.
“When someone does something good for you, you have to acknowledge them … show them that you appreciate them,” said Maphorisa in the video that went viral.
After ‘Ngud’ came out, things changed and Kwesta changed.
“After he made all these millions, why didn’t he come back to me and say ‘Grootman, here’s R20 000 or something, like a token of appreciation … to appreciate that you have produced ’Ngud’ for me, it changed my life.”
In response, Kwesta said some of the financial decisions made at Raplyf were not under his direction.
“I have never been here before … I never thought in a million years that I would be. Leroy, Nota and myself started the thing in 2013 based solely on trust. As success came, through everyone’s efforts — difference of ideas, mismanagement of funds and many other things led to distrust. We never, at any point, owned a single company together. We just worked as though we did and this led to the realisation that we didn’t have the same goals any more,” said Kwesta.
Baloyi and the famously deep voiced rapper have had a fallout since those Ngud glory days, with the music executive in the past pointing out that the rapper should be grateful for what he had done for his career.
“You have more than a million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram thanks to me. A roof over your head and can feed your kids. Don’t thank me now but at least show some gratitude not brat-itude. I wasn’t paid for the blood, sweat and tears it took to build that!,” he said last month.
Those close to him are not the only ones that have been subject to Baloyi’s scorn. Last week, the music executive cum critic revived his “beef” with Cassper Nyovest, accusing the rapper of scamming people after he announced a multi-million rand deal.
“Don’t scam your people,” he said.
He also went on to claim that he had offered Nyovest and bitter rival AKA one million rands to make a joint album.
In the past the businessman has also picked on Nyovest as well as Nasty C, accusing them of making subpar music that will not stand the test of time.
“Old a** n***as that been in the game with nothing to show for it, out here coaching,” Nasty C responded. “Smh It’s a damn shame. As far as pushing the envelope forward, you’re a little boy to me… don’t ever think you can tell me what music to make and how to make it.
“Kwesta is a goat coz of what HE does, his own efforts… he’s the one doing the magic!! you just sitting on his lap singing his name. Now u wanna act like you’ve done something. Nigga WHERE?!!??? ‘Wanna-be-coach’ ass ni**a,” the rapper charged.
Despite his persona and the cloud of controversy that constantly seems to always follow him, Berita has always pointed to the music mogul’s gentler and more loving side.
Before her relationship with Baloyi, the Ndicel’ Kiss hitmaker revealed how she was down and out in 2018, and was even forced to take leave of absence from social media because of a broken heart.
“I remember end of last year I had to report here on twitter that I was taking a hiatus because I was going through a lot! My heart and soul were broken. It was a really trying time and it broke my heart to have to pull away from you all. But it was needed,” she revealed.
However, the presence of Baloyi seems to have smoothed things over in her life, with the two seemingly singing from the same hymn book.
“I am being taken care of (by my boyfriend) and he is very good for me, and creates an environment for me to work well. Although I am not mentioning any names, he makes me very happy,” she revealed in an interview in 2019.
Last year, the two took the final plunge, uniting their families during a unique ceremony disrupted by Covid-19. If her statements last year are anything to go by, wedding bells could be ringing in the not too distant horizon. The Sunday News