He’s done everything he can to support and protect his daughter but he’s leaving it in God’s hands now – this isn’t how he raised his child and he doesn’t know what to do anymore.
Bishop Welcome Simelane, father of Babes Wodumo, is a frustrated man. “My heart is bleeding for her but there’s nothing I can do. I am now trusting and hoping for God’s intervention.”
Welcome has watched alongside the rest of the country as the gqom queen, born Bongekile Simelane, had one drama after the other over the past few months. First the alleged abuse at the hands of her on-off boyfriend and manager, Mampintsha. Then the counter-charge of abuse he laid against her.
And then there’s the common assault case Babes is facing alongside her sister, Nondumiso, and fellow artist Tipcee (real name Thobeka Ndaba). They allegedly attacked businesswoman Nelisiwe Zondi on the same night Mampintsha is claimed to have beaten up Babes.
The singer failed to appear in court the first day the assault charge was on the roll and was charged with contempt of court – and when she did appear outside the courthouse for her most recent appearance she did a vosho, raising the ire of the public who believe she was being disrespectful. And still it goes on.
Babes and Mampintsha – who are said to be back together again – released a new song this month, titled Khona Ingane Lay’ndlini, which means “there are children in the house”. The title refers to what Mampintsha said to Babes in the video where he allegedly abused her.
Welcome is baffled by his daughter’s behaviour.
“To be quite frank the life she’s living right now is not godly,” he says.
“There is no happiness and peace in dancing. That life of partying is not godly – it’s deadly. There is nothing good that will come out of it because it’s the devil’s playground.”
His daughter must “just come back to God and accept Jesus”, he continues.
“I hope one day she realises the error of her ways. I hope she’ll do some introspection and see where she went wrong. Other people cannot solve her problems. She’s an adult and she makes her own decisions.”
However, he denies rumours Babes and Mampintsha are back together again. “These are false stories – it’s all lies,” he says.
WELCOME doesn’t know what could’ve “gone wrong” with his daughter, who has become someone he doesn’t recognise anymore.
“Babes grew up in a warm, loving family with strong Christian values. Obviously this is because I’m a man of God and a bishop. What she has become is not because of my teachings.
“The same goes for Mampintsha – he was also brought up in a Christian home with good values and principles. His father is just like me, I know he is a man of God.
“But I cannot tell you what has gone wrong with Babes and Mampintsha.”
He takes no responsibility for his daughter’s wild ways, Welcome adds.
“Our children can never be like us, they’ll always choose their own ways. Our duty as parents is to guide them but it is entirely up to them what they want to do in life.”
Welcome won’t be drawn into talking about the court case. “I don’t want to say anything because it’s a court matter now. All I know is she and Mampintsha have been referred to Famsa [the Family and Marriage Society of SA].”
Babes has faced criticism for her behaviour both in and out of court and has been reprimanded in both court cases she’s involved in for delaying the process.
Durban magistrate Jackie Jonck fined her R1 000 or a maximum of three months’ imprisonment for not pitching up for her first assault hearing, which means she now has a criminal record, says Advocate Lesala Mofokeng, a senior lecturer at the University of KwaZuluNatal.
“And this record will stick with her for life unless she gets a presidential pardon which is usually very difficult,” he says.
“If her assault case goes to trial and she is found guilty, the magistrate is likely to take into consideration her lack of remorse and her criminal record.”
Babes, Nondumiso and Tipcee are due back in court on 30 May. BABES and Mampintsha’s case, meanwhile, was postponed to 11 June for an alternative dispute resolution. The court referred the couple to Famsa, which means counsellors at the society will try to help the pair settle the matter amicably without it going to trial.
If they do reach an agreement, it will go back to the magistrate who will endorse it if she’s satisfied with it, Mofokeng says, and outline the conditions.
But if she isn’t happy the matter can still go back to court and continue as normal. This process is known as a diversionary procedure and is common in domestic violence cases, Mofokeng explains.
Ever since Babes and Mampintsha’s apparent reconciliation, fans have been asking why she would return to her alleged abuser.
Ndileka Macabela, a social worker, says Famsa can help them but the couple need to accept they have a problem “otherwise it’s going to be an unending cycle”.
Javu Baloyi, spokesperson for the Commission for Gender Equality, says it’s common for abused women to drop the charges and go back to their abusers.
“This is because they usually become emotionally and financially invested in those abusive relationships. The public might want to condemn her but nobody understands what a woman is going through. Abuse itself has a profound psychological effect.”
There are multiple factors that force people to stay in abusive relationships, clinical psychologist Teboho Monyamane says.
“In many abusive relationships the one being abused has been systematically cut off from their support system – family, friends and sometimes even financial support. They might reach a point where they believe their abuser is all they have.”
An abused woman can also be ashamed so “there is a lot of self-blame, which results in feelings of guilt”.
When the court sends the two parties to a mediation process, Monyamane believes there needs to be plenty of follow-through. “Mediation could be a step towards change but it might not be enough.
“The abuser needs to acknowledge that they’re abusive and seek psychological help.”
DRUM tried to contact Babes and Mampintsha but their phones rang unanswered and they didn’t respond to WhatsApp and text messages. Babes’ sister, Nondumiso Simelane, refused to comment. “Just write whatever you want to write,” she said. “You can even guess for all we care.”