FOR controversial South African singer and actress Kelly Khumalo, being named the best female artist of the year means she has made it.
Khumalo, who was in Port Elizabeth yesterday to promote her new album, believes a lot of people had written her off as a performer but “God has proved otherwise”.
“Being told that you are the best female artist in 2013 is one of the greatest things ever.
“I could not believe it when my name was called: I asked my sister Zandi to take me to the stage as I was shaking.”
Khumalo said when the announcement was made at the MTN Sama Awards in Sun City earlier this month, she blanked out for a few seconds.
“I was holding on tightly to my sister’s hand, looking down as they opened the envelope, and when they called my name, I was speechless.” The 29-year-old has been plagued by bad publicity since she burst into the limelight.
After her public split from musician Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye, Khumalo was forced to move back to her mother’s house in Spruitview in KwaZulu-Natal and pick up the pieces.
The controversial artist has had a busy couple of years.
Last year, she starred in the reality TV show Rolling with Kelly, broadcast on e.tv, and released a tell-all book, The Kelly Khumalo Story, written by journalist Melinda Ferguson and her former manager, Sarah Setlaelo.
The Itshitshi singer is putting all that behind her and is promoting her album The Past, The Present and The Future.
She worked with veteran musicians Sibongile Khumalo, Lindelani Mkhize, RJ Benjamin and Kabomo Vilakazi on the 17-track album.
“Working on this album was a beautiful experience for me. I am more honest to myself. It is no longer about what sells, but passing out the good message.
“Each song has its following and a lot of people can relate to it. All the songs on the album are special and represent a special part in my life,” she said.
For Khumalo, whose name was once synonymous with scandal, drama and drugs, the birth of her son, Christian, 3, changed her life.
“Since the birth of Christian I have learned to be more patient and calm. He has taught me to love unconditionally.
“He is such a clever kid. Even though I never told him about his father [jailed artist Jub Jub], he knows about him and what is happening in his life,” she said.
The outspoken Khumalo said while the tabloids continued to paint her in a bad light, she was just a shy woman who was only comfortable around people she knew.