DURBAN, March 5 – The parents of Gqom musician Bongekile Simelane, better known as Babes Wodumo, has called on parents to support instead of judge their children if they are victims of gender-based violence.
At a media briefing in central Durban on Tuesday, reverend Welcome Simelane and his wife Thokozile read out a short prepared statement and declined to take any questions afterwards. Bongekile was set to attend the briefing but did not do so because she was getting medical attention, said the reverend.
Late on Sunday evening, Wodumo broadcast live via her Instagram account from inside her bedroom, where a man believed to be her boyfriend, Mandla “Mampintsha” Maphumulo, walked into camera shot and struck her several times during what appeared to be an argument.
Welcome said the family had decided to take the “unusual step” and make a public statement “because we care for our daughter Babes”.
He thanked the South African public, media, musicians and various political and community leaders “for the support given to our daughter”.
“As the incident was seen by many South Africans, the matter was formally reported to the police at Westville [Police Station] and we hope it will be attended in a proper manner. We will all appreciate that since the matter has been handed over to the police it has become critical to give them the opportunity to do a proper investigation,” said Welcome.
He said they would like to “pass a strong word of support to parents whose children could be going or have gone through similar experiences”.
“Please continue to support them without passing judgements on their characters,” he said.
He said Babes would continue to honour her business appointments and would be working on “strengthening her charity foundation in supporting disadvantaged South Africans”.
On Monday, a post emerged on Wodumo’s official Twitter account stating she was “still emotional about the situation” and would not be conducting any interviews.
Mampintsha’s whereabouts were still unknown at the time of publication. (ANA)