Sipho "Brickz" Ndlovu. FILE PHOTO: ANA

JOHANNESBURG - Organisers of the Mzansi Kwaito and House Music Awards have come to the defence of convicted rapist and Kwaito star Sipho "Brickz" Ndlovu, saying that his performance at an awards show was about honouring agreements.

News that Ndlovu will be performing at the launch of the music awards ceremony in Soweto on Friday night left a bitter taste in the mouths of many social media users, including poet and musician Ntsiki Mazwai who was vehemently against it on Twitter. 

The "Sweetie My Baby" hitmaker was found guilty, but later granted R80 000 bail in April this year, for raping his then 15-year-old orphaned niece at his home in Ruimsig, west of Johannesburg, in 2013. 

Ndlovu still pleads innocence and is out on bail pending the appeal against his conviction which saw him handed a 15-year jail sentence.

Event organiser Thulani Malinga questioned the timing of the uproar, saying that those opposed to Ndlovu performing at their event were not genuine and did not wish them success. 

Malinga also corroborated the founder and chief executive of the awards, Perfecta Khumalo, who said earlier on eNCA that Ndlovu would perform for free at the event because he owed her organisation money after he was paid in 2016 but could not fulfill his obligations as he was in prison at the time.

"Brickz has been out performing at other events long after he was released from prison, and no one has made a noise about it. We've been knocking to all media houses looking for partnerships but no one wanted to assist. Now that there's negative publicity over the event, everyone wants a piece of us," Malinga said over the phone. 

"We had paid Brickz to perform at our event long ago in 2016 and he couldn't. When he was released from prison, he had no money so he agreed to come and perform for free. We are self-funding the event and we don't even make any money from it." 

Ndlovu's first performance out of prison was two weeks after his release at a reggae night event in downtown Johannesburg.

Ndlovu was not available for comment. 

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African News Agency (ANA)