Buyel’Ekhaya rejects with contempt the allegations placed by artist Babes Wodumo against Mrs Hlubi Mazwai, the founder and festival director of the Buyel’Ekhaya Pan African Music Festival. The video Babes Wodumo has uploaded on social media is an attempt to mislead the public through misrepresentation of facts aimed at discrediting the Buyel’Ekhaya brand. This is an ill conceived attempt to justify her poor performance, as well as her ill discipline and undermining of the festival goers and people of the Eastern Cape.

We would like to place the following as a matter of public record:

1. Due to overwhelming demand for her performances in December, Babes Wodumo demanded an upfront deposit payment of 75% of her performance fee, and confirmed return flights from Durban to East London;
2. Babes Wodumo was paid a deposit of 75% (R75 000,00) of her performance fee on 21 October 2016;
3. Babes Wodumo’s travel was booked and fully paid on 24 October 2016 on SAA flight SA 1309 due to fly from Durban to East London on 18 December 2016 departing at 17:35 arriving at 18:40;
4. Babes Wodumo’s management was made aware of all necessary details regarding Babes Wodumo’s arrangements in East London. All details, including her call time (01:35am) and performance time (02:25am), were communicated to her;
5. On the day of travel, Sunday 18 December 2017, Babes Wodumo failed to arrive at the airport and board her flight from Durban to East London.
6. Renowned Artist Manager, Mr Sharif Baker, was only made belatedly aware that Babes Wodumo had made arrangements to fly to East London with Nkosinathi (DJ Black Coffee) on his charted flight;
7. Babes Wodumo failed to arrive timeously at the venue for her call time at 01:35am on 19 December 2016.
8. Babes Wodumo missed her performance time of 02:25am as she was still in the air aboard Black Coffee’s charted plane.
9. Babes Wodumo arrived at Buffalo Park Cricket Stadium at 03:00am;
10. On route to the stadium Babes Wodumo made a demand, to our artist manager Sharif Baker, to go to her hotel to take a bath. This was rejected as she had to get on stage immediately as the Venue Operations Committee had resolved to switch the music off at the venue by 04:30am;
11. On arrival at the venue at 03:00am, Babes Wodumo refused to perform;
12. Artist Manager Sharif Baker and his team tried to persuade Babes Wodumo to take the stage as she was in breach in every way of her contract with Buyel’Ekhaya;
13. Babes Wodumo was made fully aware of the ablution facilities available at the venue;
14. Babes Wodumo continued to refuse to perform, and Mr Sharif Baker informed her that she there would be legal consequences for her actions, and Babes Wodumo acknowledged that she understood and again refused to perform;
15. Mrs Mazwai and the VOC were alerted to the ongoing situation with Babes Wodumo, particularly because around 16 000 festival goers were still at the venue enthusiastically awaiting Babes Wodumo’s performance, which would have had serious security and disaster management implications had she not performed;
16. Mrs Mazwai was called to intervene as a last resort. Babes Wodumo was adamant that she would not be performing at Buyel’Ekhaya;
17. Mrs Mazwai arrived and her actions were as follows:
a. She called for VOC and the entire security cluster to immediately come to the artist marquee parking lot where Babes Wodumo was;
b. She informed Babes Wodumo that her actions were undermining the people of the Eastern Cape;
c. That she would have to explain to the people why she was refusing to perform;
d. That her actions were posing a severe security risk for the event;
e. When DJ Black Coffee got off stage after his performance, he was appraised of the situation. He offered his assistance and Mrs Mazwai then handed the situation over to DJ Black Coffee and Buyel’Ekhaya Production Manager Sam September to resolve with Babes Wodumo;

The events described above show that Buyel’Ekhaya have acted in good faith, and with the necessary care and skill throughout the lifetime of the contract with Babes Wodumo.

Buyel’Ekhaya has belatedly become aware that Babes Wodumo had a scheduled performance in East London on 23 December 2016 at her own Wololo East London Festival. Babes Wodumo and her management failed to disclose this. This is a great conflict of interest. This suggests that Babes Wodumo was disingenuous in her conduct, and calls to question her intentions when she suddenly refused to perform at Buyel’Ekhaya on the eve of her very own festival in the same city.

In the eight years that Buyel’Ekhaya has existed, Buyel’Ekhaya has never had a skirmish with any of its artists. We pride ourselves in the fact that we give “above-the-line” treatment to all our artists, service providers and stakeholders. It was an unprecedented situation that an artist being Babes Wodumo, can arrive to a festival and show such a fragrant disregard for the organizer and festival goers. Buyel’Ekhaya will always show the necessary and due respect to all its affiliates, and place the needs of festival goers as its top priority.

We reserve our rights.

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