By Godwin Muzari
Her phone averagely rings every 10 minutes, mostly receiving calls from strangers. Her WhatsApp gets up to 2 000 messages from unknown senders per day. Her social media pages are beaming with messages, likes and requests.
Since Sandra Ndebele began posting seductive pictures of her transformed physical figure, admirers, lusty men and haters have been stampeding for her attention in varying proportions.
She has turned a new leaf of life when most people had forgotten about her. Suddenly, she is the talk of social media space and, once again, the chant “Sandy, Sandy, Sandy” is echoing in showbiz corridors. Either through pretence or genuine confession. Sandra says she did not expect such a massive response to the pictures that have gone viral.
Obviously, most of her male followers would claim this was a deliberate stunt to spark their erotic imaginations. But Sandra says this is just a tip of the iceberg.
She says she is not yet done toning her body and the best of her is yet to come. Nevertheless, her teaser instigated many questions: Is she still married? If married, what does her husband say about the seductive pictures? Where has she been lately? What is she trying to prove? How did she achieve such a transformation? Is this a strategy to get attention for an upcoming project?
So many questions demand answers. And Sandra, as liberal as she has always been, had answers to these and many other said and imagined questions when The Herald on Saturday Lifestyle engaged her for a chat on Thursday.
“This transformation is a result of the lockdown. I have not been doing much, so I am focusing on exercising. Before the lockdown I was going to the gym, but I had many other things to do, so I did not give much attention to exercising.
“In fact, I did not see the need until I spent more time at home. One day I looked at my reflection in the mirror while I was naked. I did not like the image and I was inspired to work more on my body,” said Sandra.
She said she had not thought of the massive photoshoots when she started exercising. It was just a matter of working out to shape her body.
With encouragement from her 11-year-old son Nkanyiso Prince, Sandra worked harder and realised the results were coming earlier and more beneficial than expected.
“One day, Prince said to me ‘mama you no longer dance like you used to do, let us dance together’. I had already made a decision to work out more after seeing the shape I did not like in the mirror, so Prince’s statement made me realise I really had to do something about my body.”
The singer said she started doing exercises with her children. It was fun for the kids and part of bonding, but the beginning of a transformation journey for their mother.
Her other children Bayanda Joel (9) and Zinhle Meaghan (5) joined in the fun and their father Nkanyiso Mbusi Sibanda provided emotional support.
“The question that most people asked when they saw my pictures was about whether I am still married or not. My husband is a modern man. He is not the old age and jealousy type that would stop an artiste from doing her work. He has been supportive throughout.
“Ask people in Bulawayo and they will tell you that we are always together. When we went to take those pictures he was there and was directing some of the poses. We now have a professional photographer and that has enhanced the quality of images.
“Sometimes when my hubby sees me in a good mood or stunning outfit, he just calls the photographer and the photoshoot begins promptly. I love the way he supports my endeavours.”
Sandra and Sibindi made headlines when they tied the knot at Nesbitt Castle in Bulawayo at a colourful ceremony in 2011. It was a few years after Sandra had broken up with her boyfriend, Bhekilizwe Ndlovu, who was popularly known as AK in the soap “Amakorokoza”.
Sandra and Ak’s affair was a matter of public speculation for some time and many thought they would settle together for good.
But the singer later settled for her high school sweetheart who is now the father of her three children.
“We fell in love at high school with Sibindi. I had already started doing art and that is why he understands me better. We went separate ways when he relocated to the United Kingdom. I had my fair share of life experiences and he had his. As fate would have it, we reunited and here we are now. Happily married and supporting each other.”
Sibindi is a lawyer, but he has quit practicing and ventured into family business. He owns a house in Khumalo where they stay and a plot that is located about 15 kilometres out of Bulawayo.
Part of the family business includes Sandra’s traditional herbs shop at Joina City in Harare called Sandy’s Longrich.
So, during her travels around Bulawayo, to the plot and to the shop in Harare, Sandra usually travels with her husband and her photographer.
Most of the photographs that have gone viral were taken in her neighbourhood in Khumalo and Bulawayo city centre. More pictures from the plot and from Harare are lining up for publication.
Speaking about the massive response to her pictures, Sandra said she was surprised by the attention.
“I started receiving messages and calls a few minutes after posting the pictures. The rate of calls and messages went up as the pictures circulated. Now, my phone is always busy.
“People are calling and sending messages. Some are congratulating me for the transformation. I have received messages from men and women. Women who have big bodies are feeling encouraged.
“Men are sending all sorts of messages, from compliments to dirty stuff, but I understand it. I went through a similar phase when I broke into limelight as a girl many years ago. We laugh at some of the messages with my husband.”
Sandra says the images that people have seen are far from the image that she is carving for herself.
“I am not yet done with transforming my body. I am now feeling fit and I will be on stage in the next two weeks for a live online show. The last time I was on stage, I was feeling heavy, but I am now ready for energetic acts. I feel so different now, but I want to transform this body further.
“I now work out for two hours every morning. When I go to bed late, my husband always wakes me up in time for the session. It is hard and painful session but I am now used and I want to work harder. I am also monitoring my diet. No more junk food. I am eating more of traditional foods.
“People that are being surprised by these images should wait for my live online shows. I am targeting a certain body that I will love and cherish. What you see on those pictures is just the beginning.”
She says family time has been one of her most valuable opportunities in life.
“Since I got married, I have a different drive. The kids inspire me to work hard. My husband encourages me and attends most of my shows. When I go to a show without him, I yearn for the end of the concert so that I can go home and be with my family.”
In hustling for her family and complementing her husband, Sandra does many things that generate income.
“I venture into any project that brings money on the table. Recently people were laughing at me when they heard that I sell vegetables.
“I have a garden at home and I also grow vegetables for sale at the plot. When I do not have my own vegetables, I go to the market to buy some for resale. I also travel outside Bulawayo to buy fish for resale.
“I have tried selling clothes and I closed the shop because it was not bringing expected returns. I am focusing on my traditional herbs shop in Harare. I travel to Harare once every week to monitor the business,” revealed Sandra.
Sandra said, despite all the ventures that she pursues, she will not drop music anytime soon. Her new album titled “Up the Ladder” is set for release on August 30. She is already working on the videos of the upcoming songs and some of the images that have gone viral on social media will be on motion in the new videos. The Herald