Siphiwe Sibiya – an unsung heroine with a message for women

Zimbabwean-born assessor, moderator and entrepreneur Siphiwe Sibiya is credited with uniting and giving confidence to Zimbabwean teenage girls in South Africa, helping them showcase their talents and dispelling myths about foreign women. MKHULULI CHIMOIO meets this unsung heroine.

Who knows how things could change in Zimbabwe if the country were in a woman’s hands, says Siphiwe Sibiya.
Who knows how things could change in Zimbabwe if the country were in a woman’s hands, says Siphiwe Sibiya.

Sibiya is at the helm of the beauty pageant Miss Zim-SA, which was started in response to xenophobic attacks that swept through South Africa in 2008. She’s also the brains behind Showoffs Consulting and Projects, catering for theatre, film and entertainment around Africa.

Her company was established to raise awareness that theatre and arts is a way of telling life stories in a different way, and she’s dedicated to seeing the arts sector reach greater heights in Africa.

Sibiya has done successful shows with celebrated musicians Sol Chibambu and Judith Sephuma, the legendary Lou Mhlanga, Alick Macheso and the sensational Zodwa Mabena from Ladies in Jazz. She’s also starred in a short film, Bambanani, which came second out of the 10 short films presented at a workshop event. Later this year, people will be able to see her on TV, as she stars in a new E.tv reality show, The Six Ladies of Gauteng.

Sibiya was born in Makoni 40 years ago and attended John Cowie primary school in Rusape and Lower Gwelo Mission high school education. She is married and her husband encouraged her to tackle a business studies course through distance learning. She also holds a Higher National Diploma in Performing Arts and a Diploma in Business Studies and Communication. She’s a qualified languages assessor.

“Back in the village where my grandmother had a farm, I and my uncle Ratile Noko run a vegetable project, which supplies vegetables and sanitary towels for the rural girls. That was the foundation to my business interest. It’s not benefiting a lot of people, but we try to help where we can,” said Sibiya. “My Showoffs company mainly caters for theatre, film and entertainment around

Africa. I also provide expertise skill to various training institutions as a consultant. I have always loved the arts, including music, modelling and acting.

“I’m glad we’ve been successful with running the Miss Zim-SA, which is about uniting and exposing our diaspora talent to the world,” said Sibiya. “As a company we co-choreographed a fashion show for the Thailand Embassy and, during the FIFA World Cup, we worked as backstage management, producing the African Fashion Show for the department of arts and culture in conjunction with Ubuhle’ Kwantu.”

Her advice to young girls is to always work hard and never give up on your dreams. Who knows, she says, how things could change in Zimbabwe if the country were in a woman’s hands.

“We have seen what our male president has offered the country. We also have an amazing woman as deputy president. I believe that when the president steps down, a female president should take over the reins, as she will understand gender issues better and look at them from a different perspective.

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