Kelly Khumalo's biography & life in the spotlight

The life and times of a songbird riddled with drama.

By  | Jun 22, 2020, 01:43 PM  | Kelly Khumalo 

Kelly Khumalo is a South African vocalist who rose to stardom when she released her 2005 debut album titled, TKO. The songbird has experienced great success ever since she stepped under the spotlight. However, Kelly has also found herself in a lot of drama which has unfortunately overshadowed her career in the past.

Kelly Nonhlanhla Khumalo's birth date and age

The singer was born on 1 November, 1984, in Spruitview, Katlehong.  

Kelly Khumalo's music career

Kelly was discovered in 2003 by the founders of Bonsai entertainment during her performance at a Gospel Star Search competition. Kelly's first professional performance involved a crowd of 30 000 people who were attending a Kaizer Chiefs soccer match.  It was reported that she also opened up for American rapper and singer Missy Elliot.

In 2005, she released her debut album TKO, which got her to be honoured as the Best Newcomer of 2005 in the afro pop music circuit at that time. Her debut album was well received and lead to a string of other album projects which include Itchitchi, Lobola Simply Kelly, The Past, The Present, The Future, My Truth and Back To My Roots. Her most recent album, Unleashed, has been receiving a lot of positive responses from her fans.


Her debut album scored her a South African Music Awards (SAMAs) nomination in the Song of The Year category, for her single, Qinisela. Her second album Itchitchi also scored her a SAMA nomination, while her 2014 album, Back To My Roots, went gold and certified her as one of South Africa's best vocalists.

Kelly Khumalo's acting career

The singer played the role of Sunay, a talented musician on drama series, Rhythm City. In 2017, she also featured on a film called Zulu Wedding, and in 2012 she featured on another local film called uSkroef noSexy. In terms of another television show, Kelly was a choir conductor (or coach) on music competition show, Clash of The Choirs. She's also performed and featured as a guest judge on Idols SA.

Kelly Khumalo's sister

Kelly has a younger sister by the name of Zandi Khumalo, who is married to Mhlo Gumede, former Media Liason Officer for Mabala Noise Entertainment.

Kelly Khumalo's children

The singer has two children  –  a boy and a girl. Her first born is a son by the name of Christian Khwezi. Christian's father is musician and ex-convict Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye. Christian was born in 2010. Kelly's daughter goes by the name of Thingo, whose father is the late South African football player and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper, Senzo. Thingo was born in 2014 and she was only a few months old when her father passed away.

Kelly Khumalo and Jub Jub 

The singer dated the rap artist and presenter for two years, and their relationship resulted in the birth of their son. Kelly and Jub Jub had a toxic relationship which was exposed by Kelly. She revealed that there was a lot of infidelity involved, and further explained that while she was dating Jub Jub, she experienced a miscarriage and physical abuse.

In 2010, Jub Jub found himself in trouble with the law when he and his friend, Themba Tshabalala, were illegally drag racing in Soweto with their Mini Coopers. One of the cars hit the other and tragically plunged into six school boys. Four of the boys – Andile Mthombeni, Phomellow Masemola, Mlungisi Cwayi and Prince Mohube – died instantly.

Although their relationship was hanging by a thread, Kelly was seen by Jub Jub's side at every court appearance, offering her hand of support until he officially got sentenced to 25 years in prison. However, in 2017 he was released on parole.

Ever since his release, Kelly has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with Jub Jub. In an MTV interview, she revealed that she was considering getting a restraining order against him once he got released. It is unclear if the two are now on speaking terms.

Kelly Khumalo and Senzo Meyiwa

It is unclear when Kelly began dating Senzo, but their relationship blossomed between 2013 – 2014. In 2013, Kelly handed herself over at the Hillbrow Police Station after she was accused of allegedly assaulting Senzo Meyiwa's wife,  Mandisa. It was also alleged that Kelly's younger sister, Zandi, also joined in on the assault.

In 2014, Kelly gave birth to their daughter Thingo. Senzo had four children in total. In October 2014, Senzo was shot dead while visiting Kelly at her mother's house in Vosloorus, East of Johannesburg. Kelly, her sister and another man by the name of Longwe Twala were also in the house on the night Senzo was shot.

Senzo's murderers have still not been brought to justice.

Kelly Khumalo & Chad Da Don

In late 2018 Kelly began dating rapper, Chad Da Don. In December, the couple hinted that they were engaged.

Main image credit: Twitter/@kellykhumaloza