Saturday 1 July 2023


SINGER, dancer, songwriter, businesswoman and, lately, politician Sandra Ndebele believes she has solutions for the challenges plaguing the local creative sector.

This, she says, will come in handy in her new career path as a politician, as it naturally makes her qualify as an ambassador of the people.

Sandy, as the artiste is affectionately known by her legion of fans, reckons this is an opportune moment for her to take part in policy-making for the benefit of the local arts sector.

But does this mean the end of Sandy on stage?

“I physically interact with people, get to understand their challenges and try to help where I can. I am campaigning for political office but will always remain an active artiste,” declared Ndebele in an interview with The Sunday Mail Society.

She has been involved in the arts sector from a tender age.

“I love the arts and everything else I do. There is no need to quit anything. The trick is in making time for everything,” she said.

The musician will represent the ruling party, ZANU PF, as aspiring councillor for Ward 20 Pelandaba-Tshabalala (Bulawayo) in the upcoming harmonised elections slated for August 23.

Prior to this, she held several influential posts in the ruling party and was appointed Bulawayo representative for Young Women for Economic Development in 2021.

“I am now ready for a full-time campaign; I am balancing everything well. Remember, I am a virtuous woman. If you notice, it is easy for me to spend the whole day at a rally and the night at a gala, like I did in Chipinge, and on many other occasions. On an ordinary day, after dropping my kids at school, I immediately go to my ward and start campaigning door-to-door.”

The muso added that she did not join politics by chance.

Her motivation is to bridge the gap that presently exists between policymakers and artistes, which was making it difficult to address some of the challenges in the arts sector.

“Personally, I think there is a gap between the academics and us the artistes, or the people in the public domain. This is why people in the offices do not understand us and, likewise, we do not understand them and how they treat us,” she said.

“For instance, if there is an event, as artistes, we have certain expectations and do not wish to be treated in a certain manner. At the same time, the people in positions of authority do not really understand how they should treat artistes, because they have never been on the ground to understand how the industry works.”

She feels she is now ready for political office.

“I have been studying Music Business and Musicology, and successfully defended my dissertation at school last week. I think I will be the first one to bridge the gap between real-life situations and the people in offices. The expertise I have gained throughout the years in the arts industry is vast. Imagine if I were to implement that at office level? I will be able to represent my colleagues in the arts industry, as well as my ward, way better because I understand what is on the ground,” she said.


Going to school, she added, was a conscious decision.

“I have noticed that we have some people who sit on boards but they are more interested in per diems. Some people in positions of authority do not understand the importance of taking our creatives, like a sculptor or an old lady who is into basket weaving or beadwork, to international expos; they do not see the bigger picture for the country in involving such groups, as opposed to representing them with little or no knowledge about their work.”

The well-travelled artiste argues that the creative sector will continue to struggle if such anomalies are left unaddressed.

She says the country has talented artistes who, however, lack exposure.

“We have talented artistes who are creating world-standard products but are not getting the opportunity to showcase them abroad, as they do not get the chance to do so. I am ready to fight to change this. When attending a world arts expo, artistes are the ones who are supposed to take part, not people with other interests.”

Sandy does not expect her political job to dent her career in music.

But what influenced her choice to represent ZANU PF?

“Nothing has changed. I have long been a ZANU PF supporter,” Ndebele said.

“Councillors do belong to certain parties. The current seat holders in Bulawayo are mainly opposition members, but I decided to campaign on a ruling party ticket as I believe in their philosophy. I am representing ZANU PF, but on the ground, I will be everyone’s councillor.

“I have been working with people, everyone, regardless of my party affiliation. Remember, the current councillor I seek to replace is from the opposition and has not been doing the correct thing. The councillor has a bias towards opposition supporters and has been doing nothing.”

Ndebele hopes to use her spirit of inclusivity to “sway opposition supporters to the ruling party”. Sunday Mail


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