LOCAL poet Sithandazile Dube is a perfect example of a multi-tasking artiste: A married mother of two, a qualified teacher, poet, actress, and script writer, all rolled into one.
She has proved beyond any reasonable doubt to be one of the leading female poets in Bulawayo and in the country.
Dube (32) is a role model in her own right, having shown other women that nothing is impossible as long as one is committed to what she is doing and believes in God.
“I am grateful to the almighty God because He has given me the strength and vision to fulfil my dreams. The awards that I have received make me realise that l can do it bigger and better. I do appreciate my awards and they have put me on a competitive platform and made me believe in myself and realise that nothing is impossible with God,” she told Southern Eye Woza Weekend in an exclusive interview.
“I am encouraging up and coming young poets who look up to me as their inspiration to follow their dreams even in difficult times. My wish is to leave a legacy that would be remembered for many years to come.”
Dube is a teacher at Cowdry Park High School and is a resident member of the National Art Gallery in Bulawayo. Currently she is working on publishing a compilation of poems, but she is still searching for a publisher who will help her pull through.
Intwasa Arts Festival recently published a book titled Around the Fire in which the versatile Dube contributed a story. In her story she dwells on forced marriages and folklore.
Asked how she juggled her roles, Dube said she multitasked, school, poetry and family.
“I am lucky that my school is friendly and is a double section school. I prepare my stuff during the weekends and during the holidays,” she said.
She is a woman who loves gardening during her spare time and tailoring. Above all she is a good cook.
Dube has a lot of friends and is a sociable person who still hangs around with her childhood friends. She has friends in the industry and outside.
Dube admits remuneration in the arts industry is low, but she is happy players in the sector now take their work seriously in order to attract corporate sponsorship.
For all the work she does, she first sends quotations and keeps receipts of all payments. She has no qualms in advertising her performances like a true professional.
Recognising that arts and culture are an industry and as such Dube is not afraid to encouraged her students at Cowdry Park High to take part in arts, advising them that it is a professional job like any other.
“I encourage them to be educated first and get to understand things like reading the scripts,” she said.
While a lot of people believe the arts industry in Bulawayo is dead, Dube flatly disagrees.
“Bulawayo is like a kitchen; artistes are being cooked then go to different places. If the truth be told Bulawayo is doing well in the arts industry; a lot of its products have gone abroad. Some who were abroad are back in Bulawayo. So l salutes the city,” she said.
Born in Bulawayo, Dube grew up in Magwegwe. Her rural home is in Nkayi district.
Because of her prowess in poetry she was voted the most outstanding poet during the 2013 National Arts Media Awards. In 2008 she landed an award at Ibumba Festival Poetry contest.
With her zeal and determination, Dube has managed to feature in the 2013 award winning drama Choose, Mazikhethela and Inhlanhla.
Recently, she was a guest in a drama on local television station, ZBC/TV where she appears as a woman who juggles a lot of jobs and things.
She has been master of ceremonies at different weddings. She also recited her poems during the Bulawayo 120 year anniversary celebration.
She performed at the launch of Sihamba Labo Mama Car ownership scheme month in May, a project dedicated to empowerment of women, the provincial launch of the Women’s Day and features prominently in the Bulawayo Agenda debates.
All this Dube attributes to hard work and dedication. “I am grateful to God who gave me the strength.”