By Kennedy Nyavaya/Sindiso Dube
When Sandra “Sandy” Ndebele first caught the nation’s attention, it was through a piercing fine voice and electrifying performances in skimpy traditional wear during state-organised music galas at the turn of the millennium.
Eyes glued to television sets overnight, the nation would wait, sometimes until dawn, for Sandy’s act which would spark varied conversations across sections in the aftermath.
When she graced the stage, traditionalists saw an abomination yet young girls envied the nerve and young boys got delirious for whatever reason.
The rise of Bulawayo’s artistic gift to Zimbabwe was nothing short of revolutionary and may have inspired many female artistes to express radical forms of art even in the face of vicious criticism to date.
Although marriage and family commitments may have briefly shifted the spotlight from Sandy in the middle of the past two decades, the former Iyasa group member has somewhat stayed relevant over the years.
However, in the past few days all has dramatically changed and it feels like a deja vu of the early 2000s all over again for the award-winning songstress who has snatched the limelight and shaken social media.
The 38-year-old mother of three definitely knows how to put on a show without uttering a word.
Her pictures in body-hugging, flesh revealing attires surely echo more than a thousand words and that is how they have broken the internet, dividing opinion across the spectrum.
Liberals have been left in awe while cultural conservatives are raising red flags, but the Malaika singer’s modern look comes with yet another empowerment message for fellow women.
“Dear body, I love you…I am strong, I am beautiful, I am enough. So are you sis’ be comfortable in your own skin, Be you Enjoy it and learn to love yourself first…” read one of her captions on Instagram.
In classic fashion, Sandy has salvaged a new lease of life for her career in showbiz and what she does with the attention henceforth will matter immensely.
There is no doubt that she has evolved and for those who had written her off, this is undoubtedly a lasting statement.
In an interview with Standard Style, Sandy described her toned body as results of lockdown.
“I had been long since I did a photo shoot and usually I see many artistes doing photos with their mobile phones and I think it doesn’t bring out the juice in you. A professional photoshoot is the best and I encourage others to do so as well,” she said.
“This toned body is a result of the lockdown, lockdown has helped me in self-realisation, it’s a time for one to find themselves and what they want to do and what they want their brand to be associated with.
“It has helped me eat healthy because most of the time we are always eating junk foods as we are always on the road and we are ever busy and don’t get time to rest our minds and bodies.
“This lockdown gave me time to go into the gym and work out on my desired body and the results have shown, although I am not yet done with my body.”
She said the attention she is getting on social media shows that she had been neglecting her body.
“It’s quite impressive how people are reacting to my images, this shows that I’ve still got what it takes and I have been neglecting my body and my brand. This is a new turn with my brand and I encourage others to take their brands seriously and do make overs to keep themselves relevant,” she said.
At some point, Sandy went on a sabbatical and came back cladding-body hugging jumpsuits with new tracks such as Ingoma, featuring Mzoe 7.
A local Zimdancehall musician went a step further to compose a song titled Sandra Ndebele, which is a praise song for the artiste whom he described in many words.