Baby Cele is a 51 year-old actress and Sangoma born on March 22nd, 1972. She is famously known for playing the role of Gabisile Mdletshe in Uzalo and Katlego Rathebe in Backstage.
At the age of 14, Cele started acting in stage productions. She eventually grew her career to become a TV and film actress. Throughout her career, which has spanned over three decades, Baby Cele has featured in numerous productions for which she has been recognized with many awards. In 1996, she took home the Africa Movie Academy Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her role in Jump the Gun.
What is Baby Cele’s Age Today?
Baby Cele is 51 years old. She was born on March 22nd, 1972 in Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal. And her Zodiac Sign is Aries.
At her age, Cele has had incredible career achievements. Having started acting in her teen years, she landed her first awards at the age of 24, in 1996 when she won the Vita Award and Africa Movie Academy Award.
When Did Baby Cele Start Acting?
At the age of 14, in 1986, Baby Cele put to start her acting career. She met renowned director and producer, Mbongeni Ngema, while he was driving down the road next to her house and he offered her a role in the theatre production of the musical, Sarafina. She then moved on to perform the musical on Broadway for two years and toured all of the American States.
She also scored a role in another stage play titled, Cards. In 1997, the actress portrayed the character of Gugu in the movie, Jump the Gun and later played Xenophobic Woman in the 2001 film, The Long Run. After playing Kathlego Rathebe in the e.tv drama series, Backstage for eight years, Baby Cele established herself as a force to reckon with in the film industry.
She moved on to score the role of Thandeka in the fourth season of the SABC1 drama series, Home Affairs and also had a leading role in the sitcom, My Perfect Family. In 2011, she featured as Ma Nkunzi in the series, Sokhulu and Partners II. And further portrayed the character of a spinster housekeeper, Slindlile Dludlu in the Mzansi Magic soapie, Inkaba between 2012 and 2013.
Additionally, in 2013, she landed the role of Gasta Cele, a traditional yet modern wife who believes certain things should be left up to her husband in the soapie, Zabalaza. Baby Cele featured in the Mzansi Magic drama series from 2013 to 2016. Furthermore, she joined the cast of Isidingo as Colonel Sibongile “Bongi” Nene in August 2016. She subsequently had roles in Ring of Lies (2016), She Is King (2017), JJC: Johnny Just Come (2018), The Last Victims (2019), Blood & Water (2020-2022), and Shaka iLembe (2023).
Baby Cele’s Most Famous Role as Gabisile
In the year 2018, Baby Cele debuted in Uzalo as Gabisile Mdletshe. Initially, her character was a religious woman and a vibrant straight-talking disciplinarian. However, as the series progressed, her script was rewritten and she was turned into an evil woman nobody wanted to mess with. As Gabisile changed for the worse, she became the character that viewers hate to love.
Nevertheless, when the 51-year-old announced that she would be leaving Uzalo in November 2020, her departure left fans of the popular soap opera heartbroken. She left the show for another TV series produced by Uzalo makers, Stained Glass Productions. Hence, there was no bad blood between her and the production team.
The actress, however, made a comeback on Uzalo in August 2021. Though her character was assumed dead and there was a funeral without a body, she reappeared on the show when she was found by two children at the river. She is still part of the Uzalo cast to date and for excellently playing her villain role in the SABC1 series, Baby Cele was nominated for the SAFTA Golden Horn Award for Best Actress in 2020.
Is Baby Cele a Sangoma?
Yes, Baby Cele is a Sangoma. At first, she never wanted to accept her ancestral calling and did everything to avoid it. Eventually, she was forced to accept her calling and then became a Sangoma in May 2004. She made the decision as she feared that was the only way to save her family from getting wiped out. While still refusing to accept her calling to be a Sangoma, Baby Cele lost her younger sister, Zodwa, and her younger brother, Thembinkosi.
Their mysterious death made her accept her ancestral calling. Interestingly, her late mother, Bikiwe Shozi was a traditional healer and her grandfather was an Inyanga. Since becoming a Sangoma, the TV star has been enjoying the journey which she described as an amazing rollercoaster ride. Her ancestral gift enables her to foresee things in dreams and have visions of the future.
She reportedly ended her third marriage following the signs given to her by her ancestors to separate from her husband. She took the decision as the signs were too loud. As a Sangoma, Baby Cele attends to clients who book her for consultation and traditional healing.
Who Is Baby Cele’s Husband?
Baby Cele is currently divorced and single. The award-winning actress has been married three times. She entered her first marriage at a young age but the union was short-lived as she was abused and maltreated by her ex-husband. Later, on February 28th, 2009, Cele traditionally wedded Mandla Mabuza, a then-senior arts official in the Mpumalanga government.
The former Backstage actress met her second husband in 2005 at Witbank and after dating for four years, they tied the knot. Sadly, the couple’s marriage ended some years later. Then in September 2017, Baby Cele married her third husband, businessman Thabo Maloka. The private wedding ceremony was attended by family and close friends including Dineo Nchabeleng, Thembi Matshali, and Slindile Nodangala.
Despite the two looking happily married and a perfect fit, Baby Cele ended her marriage in the year 2021. Even though she was happy in the marriage and shared similar traits with her estranged husband, she was asked by her ancestors to divorce Maloka as they were not spiritually aligned.
How Many Children Does Baby Cele Have?
Baby Cele has two children – Yolisa Cele and Thando Cele. While she is believed to have welcomed her daughter Yolisa from her first marriage, her son Thando is a product of her marriage to her second husband, Mandla Mabuza. Yolisa Cele is 23 years old and was born on November 4th, 1999. Thando, on the other hand, was born on March 29th, 2010, and is currently 13 years old.
Like her mother, Yolisa has pulled a few strings in the entertainment industry. She was featured in several commercials when she was younger. Later on, she bagged a role in the TV series, Isithembiso. Baby Cele loves her children to death and has once threatened to ‘Shoot to Kill’ anyone who would try to harm them.