Babes Wodumo looked sombre at a press briefing in Durban, with her boss, Mampintsha. Picture: Zanele Zulu/ANA Pictures
DURBAN’s Gqom music sensation Babes Wodumo’s trip to the BET Awards in the US has crashed spectacularly, with the young artist failing to secure her travel visa.

West Ink Records, headed by musician Mampintsha of the popular Big Nuz group, said he took full responsibility for the bungle and apologised profusely to the fans and the artist for the hiccup.

The awards are set to take place tomorrow, where Babes had been nominated in the Best International African Act category after her successful debut album, Gqom Queen Volume 1.

The city was criticised last week for hosting a mayoral breakfast send-off at ratepayers’ expense for Babes and local Durban rapper, Nasty C, who is in the US.

Babes, whose real name is Bongekile Simelane, and her boss, Mandla “Mampintsha” Maphumulo, were due to fly to Los Angeles on Thursday, but were not able to because the visa was not secured in time.

A scramble for intervention at the Department of International Relations and within the eThekwini Municipality, yielded no fruit.

At an urgent press briefing in Durban yesterday, Mampintsha said they would sign a deal with a reputable public relations firm to handle their administrative affairs and were investigating the bungle.

Mampintsha received a lot of flak on social media this week, with fans calling for the 23-year-old Lamontville-born performer to leave the record company for a more established recording company.

Both said this would not happen. Babes said it was Mampintsha who spotted her talent and proclaimed “I will die here”, referring to the music stable.

Khulekani Ntshangase, a spokesperson for the record company, said there was a communication failure between the BET organisers and the company.