Kelly Khumalo, a luminary in the South African entertainment scene, has etched her name in the annals of Afro Pop music. Khumalo is not merely an artist; she's a force of nature—a singer, actress, and dancer who commands attention.

The journey to Kelly Khumalo's stardom commenced in 2003 when she showcased her vocal prowess at a Gospel Star Search competition. Her talents didn't go unnoticed, catching the discerning eyes of Sarah and Bonsai Shongwe, founders of Bonsai Entertainment. This fortuitous encounter set the stage for her meteoric rise.

In 2005, the South African Music Awards (SAMA) bestowed upon her the prestigious title of Best Newcomer. This accolade marked the formal coronation of a rising star destined for greatness.

Kelly Khumalo's musical journey reached new heights during the 19th South African Music Awards. In a triumphant moment, she clinched the Best Female Artist award, a testament to her vocal prowess and undeniable impact on the music industry.

Beyond her musical exploits, Kelly Khumalo seamlessly transitioned into the realm of acting. Her multifaceted talents landed her roles in's youth drama, showcasing her ability to captivate audiences across different mediums.

In 2007, she graced the small screen with her presence in "Rhythm City," embodying the character of Sunay. Her portrayal resonated, portraying a singer brimming with talent and a character drenched in attitude.

Kelly Khumalo's career trajectory, though laden with triumphs, has not been without its challenges. The highs and lows of her personal and professional life have woven a narrative of resilience, determination, and an unwavering commitment to her craft.

As Kelly Khumalo continues to navigate the complex tapestry of fame, her indomitable spirit and artistic flair position her as a true icon in the vibrant mosaic of South African entertainment.

Early Life

Kelly Nonhlanhla Khumalo, born on 11 November 1984 in Vosloorus, South Africa, is a powerhouse in the entertainment realm. Her journey from Vosloorus to Nquthu, KwaZulu-Natal, and ultimately to Gauteng in 1997, mirrors her geographical evolution that parallels her rise in the music industry.

Discovered during a gospel talent search, Khumalo's talent caught the attention of Bonsai Entertainment, leading to a pivotal record deal. Her debut studio album, "T.K.O," released in 2005, catapulted her to fame. This marked the beginning of a career that would see her leaving an indelible mark on the South African music landscape.

Her prowess was quickly recognized, evident in her first professional performance at a Kaizer Chiefs soccer match, where she stood before a crowd of 30,000. Within two months in the industry, she shared the stage as the opening act for American Rap star Missy Elliot—a testament to her meteoric rise.

"TKO," her 2005 debut album, served as a launchpad for subsequent successes. Tracks like "Themba" and "Kelly Khumalo Themba" resonated with fans, showcasing her versatility and securing a lasting place in the hearts of her audience.

The evolution of Kelly Khumalo's artistry reached new heights with her ninth album, "The Voice of Africa" (2020). This musical masterpiece seamlessly blended elements of R&B, gospel, and Afro pop. The album's resonance was not only felt by fans but also affirmed by its certification as gold in South Africa.

In May 2013, she added another accolade to her collection, clinching an award at the 19th South African Music Awards. Beyond the awards and recognitions, Khumalo's enduring influence lies in her ability to traverse musical genres, captivating audiences with her distinctive voice and dynamic performances. Her journey, marked by triumphs and musical evolution, positions her as a true icon in the South African entertainment landscape.


Kelly Khumalo's debut solo album, "T.K.O," made its entrance into the South African music scene on August 19, 2005, earning her nominations for Song of the Year and Best Afro Pop Album at the 2006 South African Music Awards (SAMA).

Following her debut, Khumalo continued to make waves in the music industry. On September 27, 2006, her second studio album, "Itshitshi," was unleashed, showcasing her evolving artistry.

November 5, 2012, marked the release of "The Past, The Present, The Future" album in South Africa, a project that secured her the Best Female Artist of the Year award at the 19th SAMA awards in 2013.

In October 2014, the single "Asine" made its debut, earning a Song of The Year nomination at the Metro FM Awards (2015). Her album, "Back to my Roots," achieved gold status, solidifying her reputation as one of South Africa's premier vocalists. The album featured collaborations, including one with American songstress Syleena Johnson.

The journey continued as Khumalo recorded her seventh studio album, "My Truth," released on October 28, 2016, earning her the title of Best Female Album at the 2017 Metro FM Awards.

The musical evolution persisted. In January 2018, she embarked on her eighth studio album, releasing the lead single "Jehovah" on July 9, 2018. The subsequent album, "Unleashed," dropped on November 5, 2018, showcasing her versatility and was produced by Mondli Ngcobo.

Her single "Empini" from the album "The Voice of Africa," released on August 28, achieved gold status, with sales of 80,000 units and 12 million views on YouTube. The album, released on October 9, 2020, garnered gold certification with 25,000 units sold in South Africa. At the 6th ceremony of the All Africa Music Awards, "Empini" received a nomination for Best Female Artist in South Africa.

In November 2021, she recorded "The Voice of Africa" live version and, in April 2022, performed at her first annual Gospel Explosion Concert. The success led to the announcement of the "From A God To A King" tour, scheduled to commence on September 17, 2022, along with her 10th album of the same name.

"Bazokhuluma," featuring Zakwe and Mthunzi, served as the lead single from the album, released on November 4, 2022. Finally, her 10th album, "From A God To A King," was officially released on February 14, 2023, marking another milestone in Kelly Khumalo's remarkable musical journey.

Kelly’s Television Presenting Career

Kelly Khumalo's television presenting career has seen her take on diverse roles and projects. In 2021, she ventured into reality television with her own show titled "Life with Kelly Khumalo," which airs on Showmax, providing audiences with a glimpse into her life.

Her television appearances continued as she joined the cast of "House of Zwide," a television soapie airing on etv, in September 2021, showcasing her versatility as a performer.

Adding to her television portfolio, Khumalo took on the role of a judge on "Stand Up S.A.," a testament to her presence and influence in the entertainment industry. Later in the same year, she brought her insights to the popular singing competition, "Idols South Africa," serving as a guest judge during the 17th season.

As her television journey unfolded, Khumalo embraced the challenge of competition by participating in "Tropika Island of Treasure," season 10. The announcement of her involvement in the show, made in early April 2022, marked another chapter in her television career, illustrating her dynamic presence across different formats and genres.

Personal Life

Kelly Khumalo's personal life has been marked by challenges and public scrutiny despite her successful career. She was romantically involved with Senzo Meyiwa, an Orlando Pirates goalkeeper, and the captain of the South Africa men's national football team. Tragically, Meyiwa was shot and killed in her presence at her family's home in Vosloorus in October 2014. The circumstances surrounding his death remain controversial, and no one has been publicly identified as the killer.

In 2012, Khumalo became an advocate against domestic violence after overcoming her own struggles, including a two-year period of drug addiction during her relationship with singer Molemo Maarohanye. She attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings to address her addiction issues.

Her relationship with Maarohanye was characterized by physical abuse rather than expressions of love. Additionally, Kelly Khumalo's sister is Zandile Khumalo, whose music is also noteworthy.

Kelly Khumalo is a mother of two children, Christian and Thingo. Christian's father is Molemo Maarohanye, while Thingo's father is the late Senzo Meyiwa. In 2020, rumors circulated that Kelly was in a relationship with former Kaizer Chiefs player Mthokozisi Vincent Yende, and she was rumored to be pregnant with his child. However, the couple has kept their relationship private.

Despite facing public criticism and feuds with ex-partners, Kelly remains focused on her growing family. Her resilience and perseverance in the face of challenges are evident, and she seems to handle negative publicity with grace. The singer's relationship with Yende has reportedly been going strong for three years, and she looks forward to the future with optimism.


Studio Albums

2005 - TKO

2006 - Itshitshi

2007 - Siyajabula

2008 - Simply Kelly

2012 - The Past, The Present, The Future

2014 - Back to My Roots

2017 - My Truth

2018 - Unleashed

2020 - The Voice of Africa

2023 - From A God To A King


2019 - Undithatha Kancani

2020 - Empini

2020 - "Esiphambanweni" (featuring Hlengiwe Mhlaba)

2021 - "Ngathwala Ngaye" (featuring Mondli Ngcobo)


Zulu Wedding (2017)

uSkroef No Sexy: In Kgantse And Kenny's Paradise

Life with Kelly Khumalo (2021)

Stand Up South Africa as Judge

Idols South Africa as Guest Judge

Rhythm City" as Sunay