Kelly Khumalo dropped from festival as Meyiwa murder drama rages
As the inquest into the murder of South African football player Senzo Meyiwa continues, Kelly Khumalo, who last week was linked closely to one of the men accused of killing the Bafana Bafana star, has been removed from the Tribute to Women festival line-up, with organisers highlighting that the singer had been dropped because of the ongoing courtroom drama.
The festival, in which Khumalo was scheduled to perform along with Mafikizolo, Amanda Black, Pabi Cooper, Nkosazana Daughter, Vusi Nova, Kabza De Small and Sjava, is scheduled for the Emmarentia Botanical Gardens, Johannesburg, on 12 August.
Khumalo has been in the eye of the storm after it was revealed that one of the men accused of killing Meyiwa had prior communication with the songbird, calling her twice before the Pirates goalie was shot and killed in 2014.
This revelation was made police by cellphone data analyst, Lambertus Steyn, who gave evidence in court.
According to Steyn, Khumalo and one of the accused, Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli, made contact twice, first on the August 2 2014 and again on October 15 2014, a few days before Meyiwa’s murder.
After an outpouring of outrage since those allegations were made, the organisers of the Tribute to Women Festival on Monday released a statement saying that although they believed in Khumalo’s right to prove her innocence, they felt that they needed to “safeguard” the event by removing her from the line-up.
“We have noted, with concern, various comments on social media platforms and call from many patrons of our festival. We respect the legal processes and wish to indicate that Ms Kelly Khumalo is innocent until proven otherwise,” the statement read.
“However, in the interest of safeguarding our festival, management has taken the decision to relieve Ms Khumalo of her obligations to perform at our festival this year to afford her and her team the time they require to deal with the issues emanating from the current court proceedings.”