This is the biography of Phelo Bala, a South African musician and a member of the vocal trio known as The Bala Brothers. The group comprises Phelo and his two brothers, Zwai Bala and Loyiso Bala.
Phelo Bala Age
He was born on March 24, 1991. As of 2023, he is 32 years old.
Phelo Bala, the youngest of the three brothers, followed in his brothers’ footsteps by attending the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School. He hails from Kwa Nobuhle Township in Port Elizabeth.
Phelo Bala Career
Phelo Bala was born into a musically inclined family. His parents met while singing in church choirs, and his grandfather was a choral composer. Notably, he is the younger brother of celebrated musicians Zwai and Loyiso Bala. Phelo joined the multi-award-winning gospel ensemble, “Joyous Celebration,” and remained with the group until 2015. In 2011, he released his self-titled debut solo album.
Bala Brothers Collective Rise to Prominence
The Bala Brothers, consisting of Zwai, Loyiso, and Phelo, gained recognition when Zwai Bala became the first black member of the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School in 1988, six years before the end of apartheid. In 2006, they released their first collective album, “B3,” on Sony BMG Entertainment Africa. They continued to tour as a group even as they pursued individual solo projects. After Sony BMG dissolved, they released another LP, “Live at Emperors Palace,” on May 7, 2013, under their own label, Bala Brothers Production. They performed at Cape Town Stadium in a memorial service for Nelson Mandela after his passing in December 2013.
Warner Classics released their US debut album, “Bala Brothers (Live),” on March 3, 2015. Recorded at the Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg, it reached 8th place on Billboard’s World Music Charts by March 12. In 2014, the Bala Brothers partnered with PBS to air a live performance of their forthcoming album with Warner, and they also released a corresponding DVD.
Bala Brothers Albums
- Live at Emperors Palace
- Bala Brothers (Live)
Around 2014, Phelo Bala accepted his calling as a sangoma, diverging from his music career. He explained,
“I am a Sangoma; music is not my calling, and I will not do it forever. Whether I have healed people through music or in my Sangoma practices; my calling is in healing.”
In January 2023, he generated controversy by posting a picture of himself wearing sangoma attire, prompting a mix of shock and criticism from South Africans who were unaware of his spiritual calling. Phelo defended himself, emphasizing that his calling as a sangoma was not new and that he had openly discussed his journey and experiences.
Coming Out as Gay
In 2019, Phelo Bala courageously came out as gay, making the announcement through his Instagram account. He expressed his desire to live authentically and cited the need for emotional and mental growth. However, he also shared the challenges he faced, including backlash, homophobia, and professional consequences.
Phelo Bala Relationship and Marriage to Moshe Ndiki
Phelo Bala was previously married to South African actor Moshe Ndiki. Their relationship was celebrated as they became a prominent openly gay couple. The two got engaged in September 2019 and later married in a private ceremony in 2019, which was publicly revealed a year later in 2020. Their relationship received recognition when they were nominated in the “Cutest Couple of the Year” category at the Feather Awards.
Following their marriage, allegations of abuse emerged in the couple’s relationship. It was reported that Moshe allegedly assaulted Phelo with a candle stand, causing a head injury requiring stitches. An interim court order was obtained in response to this incident.
In March 2022, Phelo Bala and Moshe Ndiki announced their divorce, ending their marriage after two years. His now ex-husband Moshe Ndiki confirmed the breakup and their divorce.