Baby Cele is a renowned film and television actor hailing from South Africa, celebrated for her notable roles in prominent shows. Her portrayal of Katlego Rathebe in the long-running series "Backstage" on e.TV spanned an impressive eight years, solidifying her presence in the entertainment industry. Another noteworthy role is her portrayal of Thandeka in the drama "Home Affairs," which airs on SABC1. These are just glimpses of her extensive and impressive career, showcasing her versatility and acting prowess.

With almost 25 years of experience in the acting industry, Baby Cele has earned her status as a legend, witnessing the dynamic changes in the field. Throughout her journey, she has encountered and overcome numerous challenges, demonstrating resilience and determination. Her enduring success speaks to her talent and the impact she has made in the world of South African entertainment.

Early Life

Baby Cele, born on 22 March 1972 in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, is a highly regarded South African actress with a rich and diverse career. In her early days, Baby actively participated in various stage productions and TV roles, showcasing her talent and dedication to the craft. Her outstanding performances earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1998 for her role in "Not With My Gun." Additionally, she appeared in the 1996 production "Jump the Gun," further solidifying her presence in the entertainment industry.

Reflecting on her childhood, Baby recalls being influenced by the movie "Scarface," which may have played a role in shaping her future career. Throughout her journey, she has been motivated by hard work and the responsibility of caring for her child. However, in the 1980s, Baby faced financial challenges that led to the repossession of her house and car. She candidly shared this experience during Dinner with Dudu, a dinner conference hosted by Ukhozi FM's Dudu Khoza. Fortunately, Baby was able to overcome these obstacles and regain her financial stability. Her resilience and determination have been key factors in her ability to navigate the challenges of her career and personal life.


Baby Cele has left an indelible mark on the South African entertainment landscape with her remarkable performances across various mediums. She gained widespread recognition for her portrayal of Katlego Rathebe in the youth television soap opera Backstage, a role she dedicated eight years to, showcasing her acting prowess and endearing herself to audiences.

Her contributions to stage productions include a two-year stint on Broadway in the US as part of the stage musical Sarafina!, demonstrating her versatility and commitment to the craft. The stage play Cards also featured Baby, earning her favorable reviews for her performances.

In the realm of modern television, Baby continued to captivate audiences. Backstage, which aired from May 2000 to July 2007, further solidified her presence on the small screen. In 2011, she took on the role of Beauty in the SABC1 show Shreds & Dreams, showcasing her ability to bring diverse characters to life.

The telenovela landscape also witnessed Baby's talent, with her portrayal of Slindile Dludlu in the Mzansi Magic series Inkaba from 2012 to 2013. She continued to make significant contributions to soap operas, starring as Gasta Cele in Zabalaza and taking on the character of Sibongile Nene in Isidingo in 2016.

In 2018, Baby Cele joined the cast of the telenovela Uzalo, where she assumed the role of Gabisile Mdletshe, further cementing her status as a versatile and accomplished actress in the South African television industry. Her ability to breathe life into diverse characters across genres has made her a beloved figure among audiences.

Personal Life

Baby Cele's personal life has been marked by three marriages, each contributing to her journey of growth and resilience. Her current marriage is to businessman Thabo Maloka, a union that began in 2017. This chapter in her life is evident in the wedding pictures she shared on her Instagram, showcasing moments of joy and celebration.

Before her marriage to Thabo Maloka, Baby had a brief marriage with Mandla Mabuza. Prior to that, she experienced a challenging early marriage characterized by abuse, leading her to make the courageous decision to leave that relationship.

In the realm of motherhood, Baby is a proud parent to two children, Yolisa and Thando Cele. Yolisa and Thando, aged around 20 and 9, respectively, embody different phases of Baby's journey through motherhood. Her dedication to her children reflects her commitment to creating a supportive and nurturing environment for her family.

TV Roles

Baby Cele has appeared in numerous TV series including:


Ga Re Dumele - Season 5

Zabalaza - Season 1, 2, and 3

Ring of Lies – Season 1 and 2


My perfect family – Season 1 and 2

I Love South Africa - Season 2

It's for Life - Season 1

Saints and Sinners - Season 3

Isidingo - Season 1

Uzalo - Season 4

Home Affairs - Season 4

Sokhulu & Partners - Season 2


Shreds and Dreams - Season 1


Baby Cele has earned some awards like:

Vita Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, 1996

All Africa Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer, 1996

Golden Horn Award for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Soap (nomination), 2006

Golden Horn Award for Best Actress in a TV Comedy (nomination), 2013

Golden Horn Award for Best Actress in a TV Comedy (nomination), 2014

Golden Horn Award for Best Actress (nomination), 2020