Kelly Khumalo

Kelly Khumalo is the South African recording artist, Afro Pop singer and actress who gained recognition in 2003 after she performed “U Jesu’ phakeme” at the Cruz Gospel Concert. As an actress she portrayed Sunay on’s sopie Rhythm City. Kelly Khumalo witnessed the shooting of South African footballer; goalkeeper and captain of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana, Senzo Meyiwa, who later died from a gunshot wound sustained while reportedly protecting her during a house robbery.

Kelly Khumalo
Born Kelly Nonhlanhla
November 1984
The East Rand
South Africa
Occupation Musician
TV Personality
Since 2003 – to date
Record Label Bonsai, Universal
Associated Acts Kabomo
Robbie Malinga
Syleena Johnson
Agent Unknown
Website Unknown

Kelly Khumalo was born in Spruitview in the East Rand in Gauteng province of South Africa.

She grew up in Nquthu in KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.

Kelly Khumalo has a sister, Zandi Khumalo, it is not known whether she has other siblings.

She was discovered by Sarah and Bonsai Shongwe through a Gospel Star Search competition.

Kelly Khumalo garnered attention of the public at the Cruz Gospel Concert where she performed “U Jesu’ phakeme”.

Her early public performances include opening for famed American rapper Missy Elliot.

It is unclear when she switched for Gospel to Afro Pop but Kelly Khumalo’s debut album titled TKO departed from the Gospel genre to Afro Pop and it was released in 2005.

The album, TKO, was an instant sensation featuring a hit song “Qinisela” the album garnered critical acclaim.

Kelly Khumalo’s debut album. TKO, was nominated for two South African Music Awards including the highly sought after Song of the Year.

In 2005 she was awarded Best Newcomer on the Afro Pop music circuit for her debut album, TKO.

The album’s biggest song, Qinisela”, enjoyed sustained success and remained on various South African music charts for five consecutive months.

In late 2006 Kelly Khumalo released her second album titled Itshitshi and in 2007 she released her third album under Universal Music titled Siyajabula; both albums were nominated the South African Music Awards.

These albums were followed by; her fourth album, Simply Kelly and her fifth album,  – The Past, The Present, The Future released in 2013 under Universal Music.

In 2013, 10 years after she broke into the music scene, Kelly Khumalo won the SAMA Award for the best female artist category at the 19th Annual South African Music Awards for the album The Past, The Present, The Future.



Kelly Khumalo made he television debut with a guest starring role in 2006 on SABC 1’s drama series,

In 2007 she was offered a role of Sunay on a new youth sopie, Rhythm City, set on the backdrop of the music went on air to replace Backstage.

The character she portrayed on Rhythm City, Sunay, and it’s struggles resembled her own publicized real life struggles.

In 2008 she was part of the celebrity contingent – which included Joey Rasdien, Kagiso Lediga, Loyiso Bala, Roxy Louw and  Pam Andrews among others – that took part in the first season of Tropika Island of Treasure which was filmed in Mauritius.

In 2009 Kelly Khumalo along with Loyiso Bala returned for the second season Tropika Island of Treasure which took place in Zanzibar – among other celebrities on the second season were; Shashi Naidoo, Sizwe Dhlomo, Lira, Speedy and Trevor Noah.

In 2012 Kelly Khumalo portrayed Tia Ziya on’s anthology series Mzansi Love: Kasi Style. That year she also starred in the Rolling with… (Rolling with Kelly Khumalo) documentary/ reality series.

In late 2012 Kelly Khumalo appeared on the first season of the Nicky Greenwall hosted Screentime with Nicky Greenwall.

In 2013 she was the guest judge on the Arther Mafokate hosted reality show/ competition, You Can Do It.


The Kelly Khumalo Story (The Book)

The Kelly Khumalo StoryIn 2012 The Kelly Khumalo Story, a book penned by True Love features editor Melinda Ferguson.

The 253 page book chronicles the story of Kelly Khumalo’s rise to fame.

It talks about her drug addiction and her relationship with the father of her child, Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye.

The story contained in the book is by a mentor and friend of Kelly Khumalo along with her manager, Sarah Setlaelo, the story provides readers with intimate and real access to Kelly Khumalo’s journey.

The book was well received by critics and recommended as worth reading.

The book was part of Kelly Khumalo’s foray at the comeback  which included a new album and reality show.




Year Album Label Notes
2005 TKO Bonsai Entertainment Kelly Khumalo, Debut Album
2006 Itshitshi Bonsai Entertainment Kelly Khumalo, Second Album
2007 Siyajabula Universal Music Kelly Khumalo, Third Album
2008 Simply Kelly Universal Music Kelly Khumalo, Fourth Album
2013 The Past, The Present, The Future Universal Music Kelly Khumalo, Fifth Album



Kelly Khumalo has appeared in numerous television productions.



Year Title Role Notes
2006 Guest Star TV Drama Series
2007 Rhythm City Sunay TV Sopie
2008 Tropika Island of Treasure Mauritius Herself Reality Show
2009 Tropika Island of Treasure Zanzibar Herself Reality Show
2012 Rhythm City Sunay TV Sopie
2012 Rolling with Kelly Khumalo Herself Reality Show
2012 Mzansi Love: Kasi Style Tia Ziya Anthology Series
2013 You Can Do It Herself Guest Judge


Personal Life

Kelly Khumalo was in a relationship with a lesser known actor Nathi Ndlovu, their engagement was broadcast on the match-making SABC 1 show All You Need Is Love in February 2006.

Nathi Ndlovu reportedly ended that relationship after he felt sidelined by Kelly Khumalo’s rise to fame, furthermore, it it has been reported that Kelly Khumalo told him that Afro Pop singer of Bongo Maffin fame, Speedy, was making advances at her and she was interested. Although Kelly Khumalo initially denied this, it is understood that at one point or another she dated Speedy.

Kelly Khumalo was also in a relationship with music promoter Prosper Mkwaiwa, murder convicted musician Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye and slain Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper and captain Senzo Meyiwa.

She is a mother of two children; a son named Christian fathered by Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye and a daughter named Thingo fathered by Senzo Meyiwa.

  • Relationship with Prosper Mkwaiwa

Kelly Khumalo was in a relationship with Zimbabwean music promoter Prosper Mkwaiwa, the pair was later engaged.

She was involved with Prosper during the period when she was claiming to be a virgin, in an interview with The Sowetan, the pair contradicted each other when Prosper Mkwaiwa claimed to have had sex with Kelly Khumalo while Kelly Khumalo maintained that she was a virgin. They later called the newspaper and claimed that Prosper Mkwaiwa had made a mistake.

Kelly Khumalo and Prosper Mkwaiwa later shared a house in Rosebank but their relationship played out in the newspapers and tabloids amid infidelity accusations.

  • Relationship with Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye

Kelly Khumalo was in a highly publicized relationship with murder convicted musician Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye.

Kelly Khumalo and Jub Jub in courtTheir near 3 year relationship was often marred with controversies that played out in the media. There were allegations of drug abuse and physical violence.

Kelly Khumalo bore Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye a child, a son named Christian.

She famously sat next to him in Protea Magistrates’ court during his murder trial after the illegal drag race he was involved in – with his friend Themba Tshabalala – resulted in the death of four school children.

  • Relationship with Senzo Meyiwa

Kelly Khumalo was in a relationship with slain Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper and captain Senzo Meyiwa.

Senzo Meyiwa had long taken responsibility for their involvement despite the fact that he (Senzo Meyiwa) was married.

Senzo Meyiwa and Kelly khumalo hours before he was shot and later died from that gunshot woundSenzo Meyiwa’s wife, Mandisa Meyiwa (née Mkhize), in an interview with Drum Magazine claimed that she knew about her husband’s affair with Kelly Khumalo before it hit the newspaper stands. This was after her friend told her to look at Kelly Khumalo’s Instagram account.

Kelly Khumalo and her sister, presumably Zandi Khumalo, made controversy when they physically assaulted Senzo Meyiwa’s wife (Mandisa Meyiwa) on Empire Road in Johannesburg after they saw her taking to her husband (Senzo Meyiwa).

A warrant of arrest was issued for the Khumalo sisters and they later appeared at Hillbrow Magistrates’ court.

Kelly Khumalo bore Senzo Meyiwa a child, a daughter named Thingo Meyiwa (sometimes reported as her name being Aphelele Meyiwa). The child was born in March 2014, at the time of Senzo Meyiwa’s death, the child would have been approximately 7 months old.

Senzo Meyiwa briefly reconciled with his wife and took the blamed for their marriage falling apart, he was quoted saying “Kelly is a good woman. She is not the reason for my marriage falling apart” Meyiwa continued “This is all my fault. I lied to them [Kelly and Mandisa]. I approached her [Kelly] and she asked if I was married. But I wasn’t man enough to tell her the truth. As a result, she fell in love with me”.

Shortly after their daughter was born, Senzo Meyiwa left his wife for Kelly Khumalo once more. Kelly Khumalo and Senzo Meyiwa remained together up to the point where Senzo Meyiwa was shot and died from a wound sustained from the shooting.

  • Shooting and Death of Senzo Meyiwa

Police sketch of the suspect in the shooting of Senzo MeyiwaAlthough Senzo Meyiwa remained officially married to his wife Mandisa Meyiwa, he had embark on a relationship with Afro Pop singer Kelly Khumalo.

On Sunday October 26, 2014 Senzo Meyiwa visited Kelly Khumalo at her house in Vosloorus in the East Rand, Gauteng province of South Africa.

At approximately 20:00 (South African time), two men believed to be intruders entered Kelly Khumalo’s house while a third man – who is believed to an accomplice of the two – waited outside.

Inside Kelly Khumalo’s house there were seven people (presumably, including Senzo Meyiwa and Kelly Khumalo).

The two men demanded money, cellphones and other valuables; one of the two men had a gun pointed at Kelly Khumalo.

Police skect of the suspects in the shooting of Senzo MeyiwaSenzo Meyiwa reportedly stoop up, this action was perceived by the robbers as a sign of aggression and one them them fired a shot at him (Senzo Meyiwa).

It has also been reported that when the two men entered the house, Senzo Meyiwa and his friends were on their way out. One of the perpetrators bumped into one of his [Meyiwa] friends  – a scuffle ensued and a shot was fired at random.

The bullet entered Senzo Meyiwa’s back and exited through the chest, he was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Kelly Khumalo and the unnamed persons who were in the house when Senzo Meyiwa was shot helped  police compose identikits of the two men involved in the shooting that resulted in the death of Senzo Meyiwa.

  • Reaction to Kelly Khumalo in the wake of Senzo Meyiwa’s death

Kelly Khumalo in Vosloorus, October 27, 2014 the morning after Senzo Meyiwa was shot and killedKelly Khumalo was blamed by the general public of social network platforms for her involvement with Senzo Meyiwa – the general public citing her persistence at the reason Senzo Meyiwa ended up dead. This was particularly because the headlines that claimed that Senzo Meyiwa died protecting Kelly Khumalo.

Many people also sympathized with Kelly Khumalo.

On Wednesday October 29, 2014 reports emerged saying that Senzo Meyiwa’s father, Sam Meyiwa, had told the media that Kelly Khumalo is not welcome to attend Senzo Meyiwa’s funeral in the township of Umlazi in the south of the city of Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.



Kelly Khumalo has attracted numerous controversies over the years; among others, they were allegations of a staged relationship and a subsequent marriage proposal, her rivalry with Khanyi Mbau her relationships – most notably with now crippled music promoter, Prosper Mkwaiwa; murder convicted musician, Molemo “Jub Jub Maarohanye; and slain Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper and captain, Senzo Meyiwa.

  • Rivalry with Khanyi Mbau

Kelly Khumalo was involved in a tedious rivalry with famed South African socialite who solidified her place in the South African entertainment history with her gold-digging tendencies.

Their cat-fights, name-calling and public meltdowns were well documented in newspapers. Their rivalry was also the subject of a KFC television advert.

The rivalry culminated to physical blows and the it was later revived when Khanyi Mbau released her book “Bitch, Please! I’m Khanyi Mbau” and later learning that Kelly Khumalo was planning to release her own book “The Kelly Khumalo Story”.

The two are believed to have reconciled – this was after Khanyi Mbau invited Kelly Khumalo to her talk show, Katch It with Khanyi.

  • Addiction to Cocaine and Domestic Violence

Kelly Khumalo confessed to being addicted to cocaine, she claimed that she first took the drug in 2009 on Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye’s birthday as a gift to him.

In 2012 Kelly Khumalo was reportedly attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings, she is now reportedly free from cocaine addiction.

She also leveled allegations of domestic violence against her ex-boyfriend Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye.

  • Nudity

Kelly Khumalo sat in a position that exposed her private part (vagina) while performing. The infamous picture of Kelly Khumalo wearing no bottom underwear was a subject of office chain emails and internet rounds, some websites carry the picture to this day.