Renowned Nigerian author Buchi Emecheta wrote about the Joys of Motherhood but, if local dancer Sandra Ndebele was to publish an autobiography, she would most likely come up with a contrasting title.
BY GODWIN MUZARI
While she is proud to be a mother, Ndebele admits that separating her maternal role from other spheres of her life is a thorn in the flesh.
She has to roll up her duties as businesswoman, leader of two arts groups, composer and dancer into one package, yet she also has to take care of her two babies without compromising her other roles.
Ndebele revealed in an interview with StandardLife&Style that she has to shoulder an extra cost of travelling with a maid for international tours because she cannot leave her babies at home.
She cannot take a break to care for them because her business and artistic roles are ever-calling.
She recently returned from a two-month tour of Canada where she travelled with her all-female traditional dance group Intombi Zonqangala (and her maid and two babies) for the Atlantic Fringe Festival.
While it is common for mega international artists and Hollywood celebrities to take their families for international tours, Ndebele is probably the first in the Zimbabwean arts industry to easily combine her maternal and artistic roles at international tours.
“The babies are still too young to be separated from their mother, so I travel with them wherever I go. It is a taxing exercise but I have to do it. My husband is usually away on business trips and he visits us regularly when we are on international tours,” explained Ndebele.
“I love my family and I will not separate them from my other roles. I go to buy wares for sale in Dubai and I travel regularly with my group. I do not leave my young kids. I go with them everywhere and a maid has to be there to take care of them when I am engaged.”
Ndebele’s older baby (Nkanyiso, Prince) is 18 months old while Bayanda, Joel is three months old. Her first-born from her first marriage is old enough to remain at home.
“It is not easy but I am coping with the situation very well. Women are different from men. We have patience and we can tackle tough situations easily. That is why I manage to do everything without complaining about the constraints. I have to do it and I will travel with my children until they are old enough to be left behind.”
Ndebele grabbed media headlines when one of her maids, whom she had sent to withdraw money at a bank during her tour of Harare, converted the money to her own use.
The artist says she now has a faithful maid, but she has to regularly monitor her babies and always wants to see them around.
“I am enjoying being a mother. Travelling with my babies keeps me busy and focused.”