Sandra seeks to be the voice of the voiceless Sandra Ndebele

Peter Matika

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SANDRA Ndebele-Sibindi is better known to the world as a musician, dancer and entertainer. 

To most she doesn’t strike them as a person competent or capable of leading or enforcing change. 

With a deep inclination of being the voice of the voiceless, not only in the arts sector, Sandra a few months ago made known her ambition and intention to contest in the forthcoming harmonised elections slated for August. 

Her political aspirations shocked the world, as nobody envisaged her sitting on leaders’ pedestal, engaging and enforcing the masses. Instead, the country, if not the world, perceived her jester to the leaders of the country and the masses.

Sandra finally spoke to Saturday Chronicle about her political aspiration, which she said was part of her plans and great steps toward achieving equal representation of women in politics, as well as showing the fairer sex that anything was achievable.

“As Sandra delves into a ‘testosterone-filled’ chamber, she seeks to be the voice of the voiceless in her constituency — Ward 20, where she is campaigning for a council seat under the Zanu-PF banner,” she said.

Sandra said she did not perceive her stride as a political aspiration, saying it was a calling and her destiny to the people to a better life.

“You know most people would have preferred me running for MP but because I don’t want to be pompous and fail at what I strive to be good at I decided to run for councillor. Not only that but because I also want to constantly be with the people. I love to engage them and be an open door to them. I want to hear their views and develop strategies to alleviate problematic concerns,” said Sandra.

“There is a huge gap that needs to be filled in the political strata. There are many academics and very few people-oriented persons that know how to address the people’s needs first-hand. I am fortunate enough to have accomplished my basic academics and know how to engage the people.” 

She said as a young woman interested in voicing concerns in the political sphere, she was encouraged by the results of past elections.

“But there is still much work to be done in society to actually achieve equality in politics. While it might seem like we are getting closer as more women run for office than ever before, this does not always translate to women being elected to office,” she said.

Sandra also spoke about how women were afraid of venturing into politics, because of a misconception that they are used as sexual pets by big politicians.

“The over-scrutiny of women in politics, women face other real barriers when entering the public sphere. It has been proven time and again that women are overly scrutinised in the media and more likely to be targeted by hate online. 

“In political campaigns specifically, women are often attacked with harsher negative tones and headlines,” she said, reminiscing on how she was trolled on social media after stating her intentions.

She said one of the best examples of such was in the 2016 American presidential race. “Hillary Clinton, the only woman seeking the presidential office, was hit with the most negative headlines compared to all other candidates,” said Sandra.

Sandra said it is important to recognise that women in politics are not beyond reproach simply because they represent a way toward gender equality. 

“True progress lies in the equal participation, treatment, and opportunities for men and women in society — and this includes accountability. People should stop scrutinising our appearance and stop the sexist name-calling and start focusing on the issues we are talking about,” said Sandra.

She said the fight to improve representation in politics would not stop as she sought to set a tone and be an idol to many women out there.

“Equal representation must be inclusive of not just gender but other factors such as religion, sexual orientation, and class. Simply having more men holding office does not solve many inequality problems facing politics,” said Sandra.

Apart from that Sandra said she would still uphold her entertainment career and would never stop being mother and wife to her children and husband.

“I am human and I am blessed to have a family that understands and supports my choices. This should serve as an example to many families out there. Wathinta umfazi wathinta imbokodo,” she said.

She said she had launched a series and a number of projects that would benefit the youth and see them engaging less in drugs and illicit behaviour.

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