Two DJs based in Durban, Luvuyo “DJ Luvas” Njeje and Lungelo “Pluto” Ntombela, are accusing South African singer Babes Wodumo of stealing their song, Gandaganda.
This week, Wodumo, whose real name is Bongekile Simelane, posted a video on social media in which she pleaded with her followers to help her track down her USB, which contained her unmastered version of Gandaganda.
She asked her fans to remove the song from the internet to avoid it being leaked before its official release. Many people were convinced that this was a publicity stunt, especially after Wodumo announced she had found her USB.
On Wednesday, she dropped the song on iTunes.
Speaking to City Press from Durban, Njeje said it was a cover-up.
“Babes knows the truth. The title of her song and the duration are the same as ours; only the beats and lyrics are different. She stole our song, which we released on 6 April,” Njeje said.
Wodumo told her fans she had already heard the song being played around Durban’s South Beach.
“My concern is that this song has not been mastered yet. So, if I may please ask that you be on the lookout and send us a link to the song so we can ... delete it.”
Commenting on Wodumo’s statement, Njeje told City Press he had no doubt she was referring to their song.
“We sell our CDs in taxi ranks. This is how we market ourselves,” he said.
City Press sent the mastered and unmastered versions of the song to at least three producers, who asked not to be named. They all confirmed that the song had the same hook in both versions.
Wodumo’s publicist, Sarit Tomlinson of Capacity Relations, dismissed as “blatant lies” claims that her client stole Gandaganda.
However, one producer said: “Gandaganda used to be a recitation that kids sang, so it does not belong to anyone. Unfortunately, these guys are fighting a losing battle.”
Eugene Golouw, spokesperson for the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro), confirmed they had received an email from Njeje on Tuesday. In it, he alleged that the song being released by Wodumo was his and Ntombela’s.
Golouw said Gandaganda was not registered with Samro as belonging to the two DJs.
“We have sent them detailed policy documents outlining what they need to send to us, along with evidence to lodge a formal complaint,” he said.
On Thursday, Samro received a notification for Gandaganda from music publisher West Ink Holdings.
Golouw said Samro was waiting to receive the required documents from Njeje and Ntombela.
“The notification form from West Ink Holdings indicates that [Wodumo] is one of the co-authors of Gandaganda,” he said.