Surviving R Kelly

(R Kelly / Twitter)

Surviving R Kelly: His connections to South Africa and previous visits

As the true scale of allegations against the singer are revealed in “Surviving R Kelly”, we look at the time he’s spent in Mzansi and what brought him here.

Surviving R Kelly

(R Kelly / Twitter)

Facing multiple accusations of kidnapping, paedophilia and sexual assault, R Kelly has found himself at the subject of an explosive documentary that lifts the lid on decades of alleged abuse.

We’re taking a look at Kelly’s connections to Mzansi, including his interactions with South Africans and the tours he did across our shores. Given the level of interest this show has generated in SA (it has been Twitter’s top trending topic on Friday), you’d hope the doccie comes to our screens sooner rather than later.

Can you watch Surviving R Kelly in South Africa?

The once-proclaimed “King of RnB” has had an almighty fall from grace, as more and more people come forward to reveal their tales of horror in Surviving R Kelly, a three-part documentary broadcast on the Lifetime channel. The programme is yet to receive a South African release date, but you can see a trailer for it here.

R Kelly and South Africa – A brief history:

World Cup

He was chosen to perform the official World Cup 2010 anthem – Sign of a Victoryahead of the tournament held in Mzansi. He performed on stage with the Soweto Spiritual Singers at the FNB Stadium as part of the opening ceremony. The singer also went on to predict that South Africa “would win the whole thing if they believed in themselves“. Sorry Robert, it doesn’t work that way.


Kelly has appeared on two major tours in SA – in 2001 and 2013 respectively. Both events headed to Cape Town and Johannesburg, with Durban getting a visit 18 years ago. He’s not performed officially in the country since, and with his reputation going down the pan, it’s unlikely we will see the Chicago-born artist here again.


His last meaningful interaction with SA came in June 2017. He dedicated #FanFeatureMonday – a competition on his Twitter account – to a Durban resident singing Kelly’s track Bad Man, who sounded like a dead ringer for the disgraced star. He shared the video to his social media pages, and the unsuspecting viral smash racked up millions of hits in the first few weeks after it was posted.