Gospel star rescued from alcohol hellhole

Khulekani Chili
Khulekani Chili
Image: Facebook

Once high-riding gospel star Khulekani Chili, who sold his house and everything else of value due to his alcoholism, says he is ready to revive his music career.

Chili appeared on a Moja Love show about alcohol abuse on Saturday night, after his friends wrote to the show seeking help for him.

Standing on a Joburg street after he was fished out of his small shack in Jeppestown, he confessed to the show's crew that he had a serious drinking problem and that he has hit rock bottom.

The gospel singer who released his debut album Ingane Yomfana in 2007 has been experiencing a string of unpalatable incidents, including car crashes and arrests. He has in total released eight albums, two achieved double platinum and two got gold status.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, the singer said he was feeling much better after spending five weeks at a rehabilitation centre. His stint there was arranged by the producers of Uyaphuza TV show.

His friends said Chili would buy expensive clothes and lead a flashy lifestyle once his royalties payments go through. And when he became broke, he would sell his stuff cheaply to feed his drinking lifestyle.

He said he was grateful to what his friends did to seek help for him.

"I admit, bengiphuza. I'd drink so much it became impossible to live without alcohol. The problem started a long time ago but recently I had to admit that I need help."

Asked what forced him to go hard on the bottle, Chili said: "The last time I earned serious royalties was 2012 when I was still with Cool Spot [recording company]. Since the company was sold, I had to look elsewhere for a recording deal and they exploited me.

"It is some of those things that have hurt me and forced me to drink. I regret that the drinking problem cost me a lot. I could not provide for my own kids but I want to thank my [close friend] Sibulelo Godana for taking me in."

He told Sowetan that since he appeared on Moja Love, he received calls even from music producers who wanted to help.

"I just want to focus on my career and go back to the studio. For now, I continue to do the work I was given at rehab.

"They give you 12 steps that will assist you to defeat the urge to drink and focus on yourself and also discover your purpose. When looking back, I really drank my life and career away."

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