The Maseru Jazz Festival has announced it has dropped Afro-pop singer Kelly Khumalo, stating that it is putting her “on hold”.
“As Maseru Park we’re here to inform you that we have seen comments about one of our guest performers which came to [our] attention… we need to inform our public and society that we are putting Kelly Khumalo on hold,” read the short statement on Wednesday.
The vague and confusing statement goes on to say that they respect the professionalism of the legal team on the processes.
“In the interest of our jazz festival, we have taken the decision to relieve Kelly Khumalo of the obligation to perform at our festival and we acknowledge that she is not guilty until proven so,” the statement concluded.
The festival will take place on 24 September 2023 at the Maseru Park in Mafikeng, North West, with other South African artists like Mafikizolo and Selaelo Selota set to perform.
Kelly’s removal from the lineup comes after new developments emerged in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, linking the singer to one of the five accused.
Kelly is set to perform at The State Theatre later this month in what is a gospel show.
ALSO READ: ‘Safeguarding our festival’ – Why concert organisers removed Kelly Khumalo from lineup
In a similar statement to the Maseru Festival, The Tribute to Women concert removed Kelly from its line-up earlier this week.
“In the interest of safeguarding our festival, management has taken the decision to relieve Ms. Khumalo of her obligations to perform at our festival this year to afford her and her team the time they require to deal with the issues emanating from the current court proceedings,” the Tribute to Women statement read.
But speaking to IOL, Kelly’s manager Kgothatso Tsotetsi said her removal from the concert was more of a personal attack on the singer, rather than having anything to do with the Meyiwa case.
“The promoter behind the Tribute to Woman concert is Joe Chakela who happens to work for Sheer music, the publishing company Kelly and Universal Music Publishing have just won a legal battle against,” said Tsotetsi.
“They tried to hang on to Kelly besides the fact that her contract with them had expired and she had no intentions of renewing and this is their way of getting back at her.
“He could have just said he’s no longer interested in proceeding with the booking, instead of the whole smear campaign hoping to use my artist to sell tickets,” he added.
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