Kelly takes her life to the stage

2017-08-20 11:59
Kelly Khumalo. (Photo: Stills by Tom)

Johannesburg - Songstress Kelly Khumalo is ready to share her life story, including how she survived abuse, through a musical-theatre production.

Though it is well known that Khumalo was emotionally and physically abused by a former lover, this week she was coy about naming and shaming her abuser.

In 2011, pictures of Khumalo’s swollen face were circulated on social media after they were published in Sunday World.

At the time, she openly spoke about the physical abuse she had endured at the hands of her ex-lover and the father of her son.

“I’m not angry at all, but I have to do it for me first and my son second,” she said at the time.

Asked what her take on #MenAreTrash was, she said: “I can gladly say men are trash. But society and men contributed to that.

“We need to stand together as communities and share our stories and how to deal with abuse. Broken people always want others to be like them. Broken people always want to break others,” she said.

Her new show is not going to be just another “up close and personal with Kelly Khumalo” – the singer is planning to spice things up with dialogue and dramatic costumes.

Khumalo is so serious about the project that she has commissioned scriptwriter Percy Vilakazi, who has been part of her musical journey for the past 13 years, to put it together.

“I sat down with Percy and we discussed how we were going to [reveal my life story] through a musical show.

“When he sent the script back to me, I sobbed when I read it because I couldn’t believe how much I’d been through. But, I am grateful to be alive and doing what I love.”

She said she had had plans for a one-woman show two years ago, but she had to put things on hold because she wanted everything to be perfect.

She waited until she was comfortable to tell her story without worrying about what people would say.

“I released my album during Women’s Month and, in the same month, I celebrate my birthday. I wouldn’t have chosen a different month to tell my story,” she said.

She promises her fans a memorable one-woman show, set to take place on Thursday next week at The Lyric theatre at Gold Reef City in the south of Johannesburg.

The show will answer many questions and give her a chance to tell her story for the first time.

In the past, her story has been “misinterpreted by the media”, she claimed.

Khumalo said the purpose of the show was to give hope to other women.

“No matter what they’ve been through in their lives, they can still pick up the pieces and be on top again,” she said.

Her new album, titled My Truth, will seek to “restore hope for everyone who has been experiencing his or her worst moments in life”.

Talking about the abuse, Khumalo said the problem was often much deeper than people thought.

“It starts with your upbringing.

"If you are from a broken family and an abusive home, the only way you communicate with your partner at home will be through abuse,” she said, adding that, irrespective of how one was raised, a person still had the liberty to “choose to be the type of man he wants to be”.

(Photos: Stills by Tom)

*Up Close and Personal with Kelly Khumalo takes place at The Lyric theatre at Gold Reef City on Thursday at 18:00.

Tickets start from R150 at