The Sunday Tribune reports that Gqom sensation, Babes Wodumo, could be watching the BET Awards on television like many South Africans after allegedly failing to secure her visa travel documents ahead of her first overseas trip as an artist.
Babes, whose real name is Bongekile Simelane, and her manager, Mampintsha, whose real name is Mandla Maphumulo, were meant to travel to the US this week but failed to apply for their travel visa on time.
A source at the American Embassy’s offices in Durban, who cannot be named as they were not permitted to speak to the media, said the duo rocked up at the embassy on Tuesday to apply for the travel visa.
According to the website of the U.S Embassy and Consulates in South Africa, applicants have to undergo an interview before a travel visa is issued.
Interviews for the visa are determined by appointment only and must be scheduled at least 60 days before the travel date where possible.
The appointments are available Monday to Thursday and there’s a waiting period for the appointment, the website states.
When the Sunday Tribune called the office of the American Embassy to enquire, it was confirmed that the name of Bongekile Simelane is not on the list of applicants who have done an interview and it also does not appear on the list of those whose interviews are scheduled until Thursday this week.
The BET Awards take place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, this Sunday.
“Bongekile Simelane is not on our system, if she has not done an interview there’s no way she can travel to America for an event which is on Sunday. Even if she applies for it today, it’s our busy season, there’s a waiting period of about 3 to 4 weeks,” said an official at the embassy.
A source further revealed that her manager approached prominent politicians in Durban to intervene by way of convincing the American Embassy, but they too were sent packing and were told special interviews are paid for and are for VIP’s, whereas Babes only fell under the category of normal citizens.
In a statement, the organisers of the BET Awards, Viacom International Media Networks Africa, said: “As Viacom International Media Networks Africa, we have assisted the 2017 BET Awards nominees in securing their travel requirements in a speedy manner. However it has been brought to our attention by the management of the nominee in question that she has not secured a visa. We are in contact with the nominee’s management and are working together to find a solution”.
Source: Sunday Tribune