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Sandra Ndebele born again

by Staff Reporter
03 Jun 2018 at 08:36hrs | Views
IMMORAL, lewd or raunchy are some of the labels that were stuck on Sandra Ndebele when she first emerged on the Zimbabwean music scene.

This was in 2002 and Ndebele had just won the hearts of Zimbabweans with two hit singles, Mama and Malaika.

Zimbabwe at that time, a time marked by the emergence of urban grooves as a national force, had its fair share of music divas.

But Ndebele was different.

While damsels like Betty Makaya and Plaxedes Wenyika seduced the nation with their laid back love tunes and angelic voices, Ndebele was a more in-your-face performer who relied as much on her vocal talent as she did on her prowess as a dancer.

While Bulawayo had many talents like Ndebele, young girls barely out of their teens reared in the city's arts nurseries, she had a star power and pull that separated her from the rest of the field.

This star power however, did not shield her from the criticism of a conservative country unable to come to terms with such a performer. Over the years she has been labelled, shamed and called all sort of names but she has not wavered, and last week that stubbornness was rewarded when she was named the ROIL Bulawayo Arts Awards female artiste of the year.

Sixteen years after she emerged on the scene, she was on the podium once again, solidifying her status as one of Zimbabwe's most prominent artistes.

According to Ndebele herself, it has not been an easy ride.

"People have their own views, perceptions and misconceptions so when brand Sandra was born in 2003, that's why they labelled me many names. Personally I didn't agree with them. I don't know what they want to call me, but I'm still that," she told Sunday Life in an interview.

Despite the naysayers, Ndebele believes that sticking to what she believes in is the reason that she has managed to stay on top for so long.

"I've been in the industry for the past 16 years and it's been about consistency, knowing what you really want. Coming into this industry it was all about creating a brand and making my brand visible, believing in the brand that I'm pushing and knowing what I'm pushing. Even those that didn't believe in my brand now believe in it.

"And not listening to what a lot of people say because some would say this and some would say that but believing in my vision. So I followed that vision and that's why I think I'm still there," she said.

Despite her initial success, however, the past few years have seen Sandra Ndebele change tact, as she abandoned her old traditional look for a modern one. Gone are the skimpy traditional outfits and instead of the barefooted voluptuous dancer who had men drooling at the shake of a thigh, there's now a classy performer strutting her stuff in heels.

In true Sandra Ndebele style, this transformation has also been deliberate and calculated.

"It's also about moving with the times, changing my outlook, changing my music and re-branding which has also contributed to me being relevant up to now," she said.

The fashion shift, she added, was due to her travels around the globe. After dressing a few women at this year's awards, she now plans to make dressing up full-figured Bulawayo women her pet project.

"As a well travelled artiste, I've seen how a lot of full figured women dress. I've seen how mummies dress and when you look at them you wouldn't think this is a mother. You'd think they're young girls. So I'm introducing that to Bulawayo slowly and for example this year I managed to dress 10 full figured women," she said.

Despite her comfort in the spotlight, the same cannot be said of her husband who has chosen to play a supportive role behind the scene.

"He says that he's not a public figure. I am. He doesn't like the limelight and people taking pictures of him," she said.

Source - Sunday News