Iydudla zasaZululand
Q&A! Big time-mag! “So if diva means giving your best, then yes, I guess I am a diva” This is according to Iydudla zaseZululand women from deep rural places within Zululand District they unite to inspire and encourage young people from Nongoma and other surrounding places to stand up for themselves. They believe life offers more opportunities but it’s up to you and what you do about it, Bigtime-mag speaks to the founder of this organisation about their initiative to the society. Sandie Sandisele Mtshali

Share with our readers who exactly iydududla zase-Zululand and who they represent?

Izidudla zaseZululand is actually fully figured, curved “fat divas”, women from the Zululand District, and these women represent all women especially in the Zululand district who is what people usually call “Izidudla”. We represent all the different plus size women from different cultures and backgrounds.

Where did you get the courage to start this initiative because it requires you to work hard trying to help others?

From as far back as I was born, I was never slim or slender, I’ve always been thick, so as I was growing up people used to call me different names, especially at school, and this happened to most kids at school who were my size or above. So I saw this as a huge setback and challenge as it lowered my self-esteem and confidence. As I was growing up I found confidence in my body and was comfortable with my body and always said positive things about myself, in short I learnt to embrace my body size and shape on my own, so I thought I should start such an initiative to encourage women like me, and all those who are struggling to rise above the criticisms and the nasty comments about their bodies. ‘As our slogan says, Zithande Sdudla, Love the Way you are Because You Are God’s Creation”, so everything stems from that we teach people to love themselves accept their bodies and live positively’.

Your focus is working mostly in Zululand District and its surrounding towns are there any specific reason you choose to have sisters from this region to work with?

We are going to go to other districts once we have developed well, right now we are still trying to get all resources we need and reach to as many women as we can and schools within the district, once we are done we shall expand, our next target is Umkhanyakude.

One of the Main Reason you started this is to see big booty or full-figured women proud of whom they are and live a healthy life how are you going to achieve that?

As mentioned in the previous question, we have gone to different areas and schools, there we have presented ourselves and had a talk with women and children, where we found out that many women are emotionally depressed as well because of nasty words and names they are called, we have also addressed body shaming issues , we have taught women to stand up for themselves, that they are 100% women and are not lacking in anything, we have taught them about confidence, living a healthy lifestyles, positive attributes and ways to boost their self-confidence. I have also been to radio stations, Nongoma FM and Zululand FM where these issues were tackledIMG-20170622-WA0012

Any project you have in place you working on as iydudla?

We have implemented a project where we take care of the needy in form of clothes and school uniform. We call the project Vuka Mntomusha by Zululand Phat Divas, we are also working on awareness of Bullying   in schools, whereby in our campaigns we say No to Bullying and Child Abuse

Men mostly use words that get Full-figured women uncomfortable by the way they look any words for those guys?

We are people, and we would also like to be respected and treated equally. It does not make them man enough or more superior or powerful to call us names, there is really nothing beneficial by making someone uncomfortable, it just shows weakness. If you do not have anything better to say, keep your lips together!

What advice would share with other Zidudla out there?

 Love yourself, take care of yourself, respect yourself and represent yourself well in your community. Find clothing that you feel comfortable in and feel proud when you look at yourself in the mirror, and LIVE HAPPILY!

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