Johannesburg - Popular entertainer and reality TV star Zodwa Wabantu has joined forces with the Patriotic Alliance (PA) led by businessman Gayton McKenzie and has among its founders the former “Sushi King”, Kenny Kunene.
Speaking out for the first time Zodwa, real name Rebecca Zodwa Libram, said she was recruited by Kunene and that her decision to join politics hinged heavily on how her brand resonates with what the party stands for: commitment to the people.
The 35-year-old admitted that the last five years of her career had not been easy − “having to do whatever it takes” to sustain herself. But in the same breath, those years were the most experimental, allowing her to touch on topics that others dared not and living her life for the public, being the perfect example for others to learn from.
“It was difficult, really. Having to sleep with men so I can eat and wake up hating yourself. I had no money, no education or any means to go to school because the hunger was too much.
“But looking back to where I am today, I take everything as a blessing and not a celebrity status. I am truly blessed to have achieved all that I have, although I still live normally. I just appreciate being able to afford a decent life compared to where I was,” she says.
With this bold move into politics, Zodwa says she isn’t afraid of speaking the truth − something that could normally be considered “burning bridges”.In her case, she says: “I’ve never had any bridges.
“For the longest time there’s been this unknown fear of talking about politics because we might not know enough about it. But the truth is, because we are young, we are fresh. We are able to bring the voice of the youth to the fore, while also showing respect to those who are already in power, some respect for all that has been achieved thus far,” she says.
“I really think who I am aligns with what politics should be about − and that is the people. I know that people love me, even though I don’t know why they do, and because of that I have a lot to offer in this space,” she says.
“When Kenny and I travelled to different places, I realised that when I spoke, people listened. I want to use my influence to inspire political participation, especially among the youth,” she adds.
In a statement released by the PA, Zodwa says: “Remember, I’m a township girl and it breaks my heart to see the misery that people in the townships go through despite them voting in every election since our democratic dispensation in 1994.
“I am both excited and scared about repositioning myself in this matter. But where things stand right now, I am prepared to be all over, to meet people and campaign.
“I am convinced the PA is introducing a new form of politics which is truly people-oriented. Naturally, most people fear change, but why cling to a political party that has done nothing for you and has demonstrated over and over again that its leaders, and not the people, come first?” she adds.
2021 is proving to be a busy year for Zodwa, with her permanent move from KwaZulu-Natal to Joburg last December, because she says she had felt like she had grown to full capacity in the Garden Province and needed a change of scenery to reinvent herself.
She is also due to start acting classes with Star Quality Agency in March because she now wants to venture into acting, while also growing her eggs and chicken business.
“My reality TV show is also coming between March and April, and that is very exciting. We are working on the diary parts of the show. With everything that I am working on I do get tired, but I just have to keep pushing because no one will do it for me”.