Socialite and one of Mzansi’s top dancers, Zodwa Wabantu, has defended herself against allegations that she cheated club owners out of R15 000 in deposited funds and later failed to pitch for a series of performances in Mpumalanga.
The 37-year-old celebrity, real name Zodwa Rebecca Libram, was booked to perform at four entertainment establishments in and around Mbombela on March 4 this year.
Her 45-minute performances were expected to entertain patrons at Coyotes Pub & Shisa Nyama in Mbombela, Matsulu Old Complex in Matsulu outside the city, Club Da Groove in Sabie, and Busy Corner 1348 in Nkomazi.
According to sources, fans bought tickets and kept drinking up all night, waiting to see her strut her stuff on stage, but the popular entertainer only managed to perform at one event.
“People spent their money believing they would see maponapona (nudity), but they saw dololo (nothing),” said one of the establishment owners.
Some of the four owners requested to speak to Sunday World on condition of anonymity to protect future relationships with other artists.
“We are completely frustrated because our patrons believed we robbed them in the name of Zodwa Wabantu. Patrons are accusing us of false advertising, but we are not at fault. We paid the required deposit, but she left us hanging,” he said.
Another owner said he was struggling to create a new poster for upcoming events because the trust had been broken.
The owners said all they want is a public apology and their money back.
“She must pay back the money and tell the people of Mpumalanga why she disappointed them. Her manager sent us videos proving that she had a tyre puncher.
“We are all human, and Ubuntu runs in our veins, so we compromised, and all agreed that she would perform on Sunday, but she vanished into thin air,” said one of the owners.
Zodwa Wabantu’s manager, Terrance Olifant, said it was about time he set the record straight.
“We normally don’t do newspaper interviews on such issues, but this time I felt the truth should be out there because these colleagues want to paint the sister in a bad light.
“We got to Coyotes around 9 pm on that day, and she was ready to perform, but the entire evening turned into a nightmare. The guys said it was too early for the sister to perform, so we travelled to Matsulu in our V-Class for the first performance.
“Before reaching Matsulu, we hit a pothole and had to spend a lot of time changing the tyre. When the tyre was fixed, we drove to the event, and she performed even though there was no security. When she was done, we were delayed due to issues around the balance.
“It was frustrating because this was a discount. We normally charge R25 000 per venue,” said Olifant.
The manager said while travelling more than an hour to Nkomazi, they were told that the road was closed due to bad weather.
“We needed another hour just to go back and find a new route and travel another hour plus 30 minutes. While on the new route to Nkomazi, we hit another pothole, and we had no spare wheel left.
“We waited a long time before the guys we left at Coyotes came to our rescue. We spent more than 40 minutes outside the car while they lifted it and fitted the new spare. It was cold and raining, and the sister was wearing her stage clothes, you can imagine.
“When the guys were done, they complained that they no longer had petrol, and we had to take them back to Coyotes or at least go somewhere to buy petrol and come back to them,” said Olifant.
He said when the drama came to an end, Zodwa Wabantu was completely exhausted and needed to rest.
“It was around 4 am when she went to rest. They even booked us rooms for R250. We compromised because we understood the situation. When she woke up she had the flu, and I took her to a doctor.
“After that, she paid R9 000 to get new tyres for the V-Class. We realised that it was no longer feasible. We had to just cut our losses and go back to Fourways. They cannot demand their R15 000 back when we spent so much and didn’t make money from the gigs,” said Olifant.
Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala confirmed that a case of theft was opened against Zodwa on March 10.
“The investigating officer is still busy with the case, and no arrests have been made.”