When Showmax announced the debut of “Life with Kelly Khumalo” on the streaming platform, South Africans were curious as hell.
Ever since the passing of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, who is the baby daddy of her daughter, Thingo, she has been incessantly trolled on social media.
The anger and hatred towards the award-winning singer deepened with her silence over the events that led to his murder.
To this day, Khumalo continues to hit back at detractors.
When I got to chat with her, ahead of the premiere of her reality series, she was adamant about one thing: “I don’t want people to think I’m setting the record straight.
“That’s not what this show is about. I owe nobody an explanation, whatsoever.
“The premise of this show is to tell my story through my own lens. I’m not rectifying anything or trying to win people over or to check people's perception of me.”
Love her or loathe her, this intimate portrayal does justice to her vision. If, along the way, she also puts to bed some rumours, well, viewers can consider it a bonus.
Firstly, the production value on this reality series is truly first-rate. So kudos to The BarLeader.
“Life with Kelly Khumalo” is a stylish and sassy introduction to one of SA’s most controversial figures.
Unlike “Rolling with Kelly Khumalo”, this reality series offers depth and authenticity.
Part of the show has been filmed ahead of the Covid-19 lockdown and the rest, during it.
Viewers get to witness Khumalo as a mother, who has to be a disciplinarian, nurturer, best friend and caretaker.
It isn’t easy juggling this title and a full-on career as a singer and businesswoman. But she takes things in her stride.
Khumalo comes across as someone who is very clear-cut and focused on how she wants things.
When she is conflicted about something, she turns to her closest confidants - best friends Brenda Mtambo and Thami Dish - for advice.
The single mother grapples with much on the homefront.
She’s had to gently break it down to her daughter that her father is now in heaven, which left her in tears.
“Thing is asking questions about her father. How do I start the conversation?
“How do I even tell my daughter who her father is and what happened to him? Because this is such a heavy story for a five-year-old,” she questioned.
Then there’s Christian, her son with Molemo Maarohanye, aka Jub Jub.
Christian has been acting out at school and got himself expelled.
The singer is also vexed that Maarohanye makes zero effort to be in his son’s life.
On the show, she also opens up about her beef with sister Zandile, who dragged her name through the mud.
She touched on her going on “The Real Goboza” to thrash things out.
“Obviously, I want answers. I need her (Zandile) to repeat the very same things she said on social media, to my face.
“Then her boyfriend (Mhlo) calls her out of the show. Then he takes the microphone to be interviewed and to defend her.”
Shortly after this, her sibling sends her a lawyers letter, which riled Khumalo more.
In episode three, she vented: “For me, she’s a disgrace to sisterhood. I hope she can stand the heat! This letter sent to me declares war.”
Viewers also get to see the celebrity in her comfort zone; behind the mike recording her new album, “The Voice of Africa”.
She also struggles to adjust to social distancing and homeschooling.
“Life with Kelly Khumalo” is one of the best celeb-driven reality shows I’ve watched in a while. The woman at the heart of it is independent, feisty and a tour de force.
I’m not here to pass judgement on the verity of the controversies involving her.
What I can say, though, is that there is a silent admiration that rises when watching her soldier on in this reality show.
*“Life with Kelly Khumalo” is available on Showmax.