5 of the biggest celebrity scandals of 2023

In August of this year, Lebo Morake, also known as Lebo M and the producer of 'The Lion King,' announced his decision to get a divorce from his wife, Pretty Samuels-Morake. Picture: INSTAGRAM

In August of this year, Lebo Morake, also known as Lebo M and the producer of 'The Lion King,' announced his decision to get a divorce from his wife, Pretty Samuels-Morake. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Published Dec 27, 2023


While the cheesecake saga claimed the title as one of the biggest scandals last year, this year has also witnessed its fair share of drama.

SAMA’s cancellation at the 11th hour

The multimillion-rand South African Music Awards (Samas), originally scheduled for November in Durban, faced criticism when allegations surfaced that the KZN Edtea planned to spend R28 million on the event.

Given the turn of events, Sihle Mavuso shared on X that KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs, Siboniso Duma, announced the cancellation of the awards in response to the outcry over the proposed expenditure.

Duma, at a Durban press conference, clarified that the decision followed extensive consultations with stakeholders but he denied the R28 million figure.

The Samas organisers, in a statement, criticised the awards being labelled as corrupt and expressed concern that the cultural institution had been exploited for political purposes.

They highlighted the economic benefits of hosting the event for any city or province, emphasising the contributions made by the Samas to the Mzansi Golden Economy.

Despite the regret expressed by organisers over missed opportunities for the province and artists, the decision to cancel the awards stood.

Fortunately, the event was then moved to SunBet Arena in Pretoria on November 18.

Lebo M divorce

In August, Lebo Morake, also known as Lebo M and the producer of “The Lion King”, announced his decision to get a divorce from his wife, Pretty Samuels-Morake.

Lebo M has had several marriages, starting with Viveca Gipson for five years, then Nandi Ndlovu for 11 years, followed by Ngani-Casara from 2008 to 2013. After that, he began a relationship with former “Generations” actress Zoe Mthiyane in 2014.

Reports suggest that the reason for the divorce from Samuels involves an altercation between them.

Samuels-Morake was initially reluctant to sign an affidavit stating that she had destroyed a signature, but under pressure from Lebo M, she eventually signed the document.

Despite Lebo M publicly stating that he is getting divorced, Samuels-Morake, responding to a comment on her Instagram, continues to referred to herself as Mrs M.

To add fuel to the fire, Morake further stated in an interview with “TshisaLive” that he had asked his assistant to pack Samuels-Morake’s belongings and revealed the assistant found traditional medicines.

Samuels refused to comment on the personal matters revolving around the divorce.

Zozibini Tunzi vs Miss South Africa

Zozibini Tunzi, the winner of the Miss Universe pageant in 2019, raised eyebrows on social media when she was conspicuously absent from the Miss South Africa ceremony on August 13, despite being invited as a VIP guest.

She had also been the host of the pageant's “Crown Chasers” reality series leading up to the final ceremony.

Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi. Picture: Supplied

Fans became suspicious when Tunzi unfollowed the Miss South Africa organisation on Instagram shortly after the ceremony. Her Instagram bio now only mentions her Miss Universe 2019 title, with the removal of the Miss SA reference.

Additionally, she does not follow Miss SA CEO Stephanie Weil, although she still appears on the CEO's “following” list. The unfollowing activity on social media sparked speculation and fuelled curiosity about potential underlying issues.

Apparently, there had been confusion surrounding the responsibility for covering the costs of the clothes worn by Tunzi during the “Crown Chasers” reality series.

According to a stylist, when attempting to claim payment for the work done on the show, he was instructed to send the invoice directly to Tunzi.

Expressing dissatisfaction, the stylist clarified that such an arrangement was not initially agreed upon.

He emphasised that his role was as a stylist for the show, not directly hired by Tunzi, and he found it unexpected to be asked to invoice her for the services rendered.

— Charlieafrikka (@JohnsonAwalle) August 15, 2023

Kelly Khumalo vs Ntokozo Mbambo

Kelly Khumalo had a bit of a meltdown on social media platforms and went after Ntokozo Mbambo, who bagged three awards: Female Artist of the Year, Best Album of the Year and Contemporary Faith Album of the Year.

Kelly Khumalo. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

“You guys know the truth. Numbers never lie. Call me ‘Emaweni’ (title of her latest album),” Kelly boldly declared in one post on X, telling everyone she’s the real deal, award or no award.

And if that wasn’t enough, she continued to clapback: “Arranged winnings FUSEG! … I’m not scared of all of you FUSEG! FUSEG NONKE.” Translation: she’s not buying into any rigged game, and she’s not afraid to stand her ground – no matter what you think.

Fans weighed in and dragged Khumalo for being a “sore” loser.

— The Chubby Capetonian (@MagoshiNong) November 19, 2023

Cyan Boujee and Prince Kaybee sex tape

Following the leak of her intimate video on the internet, social media personality Cyan Boujee accused award-winning artist Prince Kaybee of being responsible for the leaking of the explicit content.

In August, a screenshot circulating on Twitter showed a post on Boujee's Instagram Stories, suggesting that she placed the blame for the leak squarely on Kaybee's shoulders.

However, Kaybee denied the allegations: “Why the f*ck would she do this. I don’t have a sex tape with this woman! Now people are comparing fingers, saying it’s me, my fingers, my hands,” he told “Diamond and Dolls” star Inno Morolong.