Women must believe in the power of their voices - says celebrity author

Vatiswa Ndara lays it bare over some of the challenges she has endured in the entertainment industry at the hands of men. Picture: Supplied

Vatiswa Ndara lays it bare over some of the challenges she has endured in the entertainment industry at the hands of men. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 12, 2022


Johannesburg - Maybe the end-all panacea against the rampant misogyny and all the attendant ills it spawns does not lie too far. It is to be found in women themselves!

Women are capable of a lot more than they give themselves credit for.

One of the best of their kind, the late former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said: “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

Men will always pay lip service to concepts. Take the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence that ended yesterday. Men have talked their voices hoarse about what needs to be done but it will take a woman to get down to doing what needs to be done!

Media personality Vatiswa Ndara has been the bane of sex pests at the public broadcaster where she has done work across the mediums of radio and television. Where other women have suffered peacefully at the hands of men, Ndara has spoken out, loudly.

She now has a book out titled Unfiltered and, as the title suggests, it is a no-holds-barred account of her fight against the scourge of sexual harassment. She sings like a canary and mentions names! No holy cows.

This is the sort of book that consequently becomes a catharsis for the writer.

Ndara says: “Well, I’m not sure I’m healed but I certainly think writing the book is the beginning of my healing process. I can say most definitely the experience was a cathartic one. I have been heavily burdened by all of this and it seemed the only way to unburden myself would be through writing – something, by the way, I would have never imagined doing.”

Well, no worker imagines themselves being hounded out of their careers because of leering colleagues who view them as sex objects. She ultimately left the SABC in 2000 after a stint as a newsreader on Metro FM. In case you’re eager to find out why men would generally not be part of the solution to gender-based violence, read the book and learn how men close ranks among one of their species!

Ndara is called into a meeting with the suits at the SABC. What do they ask her to do? Wait outside! When she objects, they all up and leave.

The sad part is that the men who do this to her are the big guns at the public broadcaster who had most probably stood on public platforms to decry gender-based violence.

If you ever thought the world of … never mind, let’s skip this one. Get the name yourself from the book. And he’s not the only one! Is Peter Sephuma speaking for all men with power, or just his ilk, when he admonishes Ndara for not playing nicely? Who asks the men to shed their clothes just to prove how good they are at what they do, either on radio or television?

Ndara has read news across the SABC radio platforms, including Metro and 5 FM. She has been on Behind the Badge, Backstage, and Generations among other television shows none of which should require an actress to sleep her way into the good books of any man in charge. It struck them as odd that Ndara should not take kindly to being touched by grubby old hands.

To drive this point home, it helps that the book is written in the conversational tone necessary to deliver a message. None of the men have attempted suicide from the treatment of their managers. She went home to the Eastern Cape, volunteering at an old-age home just to take her mind off things.

Her mother, who had suffered a stroke, started taking care of her daughter when the reverse should have been the case. It took only a bold woman of her courage to hide her emotional turmoil from her son, Sivato, who would subsequently move to Johannesburg to be with his Mom.

Ndara says: “I hope the book not only assists women but any other person who feels their voice is not heard in whatever sector they are in. People feel powerless when they are rendered voiceless. That said, South Africa is a patriarchal society, and the demeaning, and ill-treatment of women has been institutionalised to an extent that the violation of women’s dignity and human rights has become the norm. I hope the book will inspire women across the board to stand up for their cause and not be intimidated. Women must believe in the power of their voices.”

The book is available as an e-book at present. Readers can go to www.vatiswandara.com to get it. The hard copy will be available in due course, at R390.