Babes Wodumo has a lot to learn in the entertainment industry, says the writer. File Picture
Incompetence will sabotage the career of the young Babes Wodumo if changes are not effected, PHIL MPHELA writes.

Word doing the rounds is that Babes Wodumo might not make it to the BET Awards on Sunday. And you will not believe the incompetence behind the reason why!

The Sunday Tribune is reporting that South African music sensation who is nominated in the Best International: Africa category might not be able to attend the award ceremony in the United States this week because she has allegedly failed to secure her visa travel documents.

The kicker in this story is that the reason behind her not getting the visa could have easily been avoided. No she was not denied one but she simply did not apply on time. According to the paper's sources, Babes only showed up at the American Embassy's offices in Durban on Tuesday to apply for the travel visa.

This is the problem with a lot of artists in this country. They just do not have professional teams behind their brands. How in the hell did nobody in Babes Wodumo's camp think that waiting until the last week of the awards to obtain a visa would be a problem? Who is managing this lady because he/she clearly needs to be fired! The whole point of having managers is for them to handle things like this — anticipate problems before they even arise and avoid them or make provisions for plan B.


If Babes' camp could not be bothered to prepare for her trip on time it is unlikely that there was a plan in place to use the opportunity for her going to the US to get her some traction overseas. A proper legitimate artist management team would have had a whole plan in place. Her travel document, outfits and itinerary would have been sorted weeks ago.

If they did not sort out the travel document a while back, I doubt they even approached any media or radio stations in the US for Babes to appear on. A good manager would have researched and booked interviews and appearances for Babes just after she got the nomination. This would have been a great opportunity for Babes to introduce herself to the US market.

If I was her manager I would have contacted everybody I can in the states to book her to perform or do interviews tying that to her BET nomination. But if they only went to apply for Visas on Tuesday, it is obvious that none of that was done. Wasted opportunity.

Say what you will about people like Bonang Matheba, Minnie Dlamini and Pearl Thusi, as well as artists like Cassper Nyovest, AKA, Nomzamo Mbatha, Terry Pheto, etc, they succeed and are making strides outside of South Africa because they are professionals who have competent teams behind them.

Babes Wodumo could learn from the likes of Minnie Dlamini, the writer argues. 
Babes Wodumo could learn from the likes of Pearl Thusi, the writer argues. 
Babes Wodumo could learn from the likes of Bonang Matheba, the writer argues. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ANA Pictures 

Many South African celebrities would rather use their earning to buy a flashy car than invest in their own brand. Many do not have a manager, lawyer, publicist, stylist and/or personal photographer. Without these people in your team, you are not playing the industry game right — you are just on the amateur league.

As soon as Babes was nominated for this award, there should have been a meeting with her entire team (if there is a team) and they should have discussed the logistics of getting her there, the budget and formulate a plan to use this opportunity to grow her brand as an artist. What exactly are the people at West Ink Records getting paid to do?

Hopefully Babes can get an emergency visa and be able to fly to Los Angeles before Sunday. Nasty C has already arrived in the US, days before the actual event and I bet his team has lined up some opportunities for him that side well before hand.


Sometimes we blame the industry and lack of support from fans for artists' downfalls but often it is just the incompetence around said artists that lead them to career suicide. Let's be frank, Babes Wodumo is not going to be at the top forever. At some point the headlining gigs will dry up. She needs to look into building herself a solid foundation with the right team to ensure that her career continues to provide for her livelihood even when the hype abates.

This is all so unfortunate because it very much avoidable. She must just ask to have a one-on-one meeting with Bonang for some advice on how to be a star. Bonang is a business unto her own, she has people working for brand Bonang, that is something Babes would need to learn.

* Phil Mphela is an entertainment commentator. This article was first published on his blog, philmphela.blogspot.co.za.

**  The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.