The US$30k album…Sandra opens up about night at ZITF

Twenty years ago, young Sandra had to jump over the family locked gate in Bulawayo’s Nkulumane suburb in order to attend dance practice.

The former Iyasa member had to overcome many obstacles to make it and in 2001 she announced her presence by releasing her debut album, “Mama”.

Last week Sandy launched her 10th album at the ZITF Show Grounds. In the crowd was Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube, Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Tino Machakaire, Minister of Small to Medium Enterprise Development Dr Sithembiso Nyoni.

Sandra Ndebele

Among the celebrities were Madam Boss, Mai TT (who collaborated with Sandy on the track Masbambaneni), Lorraine Guyo, Madlela Sikhobokhobo, Iyasa, Novuyo Seagirl, Professor, Platform One and Mr Brown.

Unlike in 2001 when she struggled to sell her debut album, the first copy of her latest album was bought for US$8 500 by Professor Ncube. Deputy Minister Machakaire had to part with US$13 000 to get the second copy. The third copy was bought by Zimbabwe Music Awards boss Reason Rizzla Sibanda who forked US$4 500. Minister Nyoni pledged four cattle and Madam Boss bought a copy for US$1 000.

Sandy therefore made more than US$30 000 in one night.

She said all this would not have been possible if it was not for Iyasa director Nkululeko Dube, who spotted her talent and also came up with a grand plan to convince her parents to let her dance and sing.

“Nkululeko Dube told me to invite my father to come and watch one of the plays at Amakhosi. I was 17 at that time and I was called on stage to dance with Mpopoma High. I couldn’t dance at the time and I told Nkululeko that I couldn’t but he knew what he was doing,” said Sandy.

She went on stage and with what Sandy described as two left feet, danced her heart out and this captured her father’s attention.

“After the function I walked to Egodini with my father to board ETs home. On the way my father said others could dance but I was finding it difficult. I then told him that I could be better if I had time to rehearse, said Sandy.

She said after the day, her father seemed to appreciate the importance of her attending dance lessons and she believed her mother had been supportive throughout though she could not come out in the open.

“During our time at Mpopoma the cast was a breed of very talented pupils and you’d fight for your place during rehearsals. We were leaving very late but you would not want to leave rehearsals because you wanted a place in the cast,” said Sandy.

She said most of the time she found the gate locked as she arrived after 6 pm as her parents at first were against dancing or the arts in general.

“Most of the time I would jump the gate up until I broke it. After jumping over the gate, I had to knock on the window of the spare bedroom and my siblings Indra and Makhosi would open the door for me,” said Sandy.

She said she would sometimes go to bed hungry as she feared that going to the kitchen would wake up her parents.

“I would sneak into the house. Even to warm my food was a non-starter and I would sleep hungry because I didn’t want to wake up my parents, especially my father. This was to avoid explaining a lot of things, because as a girl child, my parents didn’t believe I was just dancing. They would think that I was up to no good wherever I was.

“The reason that I share this story is that there’s a breed of young girls that I’m grooming and I’m happy that their parents are supportive. Even with us finishing late during rehearsals for the album launch, the parents waited for their children,” said Sandy.

Married for 11 years, Sandy believes she is the epitome of the woman found in Proverbs 18 verse 22, which states that “Whosoever finds a wife finds a good thing”

She said: “I’m that woman that God speaks about in Proverbs. I’m that wise one that balances both aspects of my life. I didn’t let my career take over or overshadow my marriage. These past four years it’s been difficult, as there is parenting, school, performing at shows and corporate events.

“I thank God for being by my side and I graduated in April, but it was hard being a mother, wife and performer. I had support from home, from people surrounding me and the like.”

Sandy said she has kept her brand intact.

“I’m doing what I believe is for the good of my career and the advancement of what people should view as Bulawayo. I don’t have time to be on social media to make noise and respond to what people say. People will say and talk about something in front of them and not something behind.

“It’s all about growing brand Sandra Ndebele and that’s what I’m focused on, what other people say I don’t care, really,” said Sandy.

Asked if she has plans to retire, Sandy said an emphatic – “NO.”

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