25 May 2018
FORMER Studio 263 actress Tatenda Mavetera, who is vying for the Seke-Chikomba House of Assembly seat under the women’s quota, reckons she was born a leader.
Better known by the legion of her fans as Tendai Jari from her role in the country’s first ever soap opera, the aspiring legislator says her exploits behind the camera propelled her to acclaim.
In a wide-ranging interview with H-Metro, the affable actress-cum-entrepreneur said she was born a politician.
She also told this publication that she decided to utilise the fame she got from Studio 263 to build her career.
Mavetera’s political move has also come at a time when some members of the Studio 263 cast have either fallen by the way side or sunk into oblivion after it was pulled off air.
Mavetera, who turns 32 this Saturday, said she can’t wait to spearhead women and youth empowerment programmes once elected into office.
“My vision is for me to represent young people and women and ensure that they are not excluded in decision making.
“I am also going to help young people and women in the articulation of government policies so that they are not excluded in policy formulation.
“As you know, over the years the young people’s future was decided by the older generation but now it’s time that we also participate in decision making,” she said.
Mavetera believes the confidence she built in Studio 263 pushed her to enter into politics.
“Naturally, I am someone who is confident and can easily express herself.
“I easily get well along with people and when I joined Studio 263 while in Form 4, I knew I was going to be someone in life.
“Being a daughter to a war veteran was another thing which gave me confidence to pursue my other love which happens to be politics.
“I then managed to use the fame I got in Studio 263 to enter politics since I was already popular with people.
“I used to be an emcee during the then popular music galas and by 2008, I had already made it into the Mashonaland East leadership as a member of the Zimbabwe Youth Council at district level.”
Mavetera, who holds a Masters degree in Strategic Marketing with a local university, said her academic background also played a big role for her to win hearts of many.
“My profession as a marketer has also helped me to win hearts of many since I have mastered the art of selling my brand to the people.
“Each time that I move around in my constituency, people easily relate to me and that has made my campaigns easier.”
Unlike most aspiring parliamentarians who want to take it as a profession, Mavetera said she was only committed towards women and youth empowerment.
“My ultimate goal like I indicated is to represent women and young people so that they are not excluded in decision making.
“Whatever comes thereafter would be a bonus to me because I have committed myself towards empowering women who are marginalised.
“Since then, Chikomba has become my other home as I worked my way up to the provincial leadership with the mentorship of others while operating in the area.”
Unlike most politicians who have nothing to sustain themselves besides parliamentary perks, Mavetera is also a farmer.
“I’m also a tobacco farmer where I also spend some of my time working on the land.
“I’m also into the construction industry and you can see that I am not someone who would want to use my parliamentary seat as career but rather as a platform to represent women and the youths.”
Mavetera, who insists she hasn’t quit showbiz for politics, conceded it was difficult for women to make an impression in politics since it is a male dominated field.
“To be frank, it’s not easy for women to make it into politics but I would like to thank President Mnangagwa who has heard our concerns and created a quota for young women to be heard.
“Our situation is made worse since most of the spouses don’t support their wives if they want to venture into politics.
“We are usually marginalised and looked down upon but this time around I think President Mnangagwa heard our grievances and that’s why you see, most of us are now entering the politics.
“In my case, it was slightly easy since my husband is also into politics and we have the same ideology but to others it’s not easy at all.
“As women, we can also perform better if we are also given equal opportunities as is the case right now.
“I can’t complain and I am just focused on women and youth empowerment; I am ready to change women and the youths’ lives since we constitute the larger proportion of our population.”
Owing to her demanding schedule as a politician, farmer and marketer, Mavetera said she has time for her family.
“I do admit that I have a tight schedule but I always try to spare time for my family.
“It requires one to be able to manage their time and in my case, I know how to manage it,” she said.
Mavetera did part of her primary and secondary education in Gweru.
“I was born in Gweru where I did my primary in Riverside as well as my secondary education at Nashville High.
“I was also the SRC president at Women’s University in Africa in 2014 where I did Management and Marketing.
“I am a mother of two and married to Edmore who is also into politics and we are blessed with a boy and girl namely Daniel (7) and Darielle (6) respectively.
“I’m also a member of Heartfelt Ministries under Apostle Tavonga Vutabwashe.”
If Mavetera was to land the Seke-Chikomba seat on women’s quota, her dream to promote women and youth empowerment would have come true.
And her script is that of an actress who found fame in the country’s first ever soap opera and managed to capitalise on it to build her political career.
Mavetera is now set to break new ground as she eyes a parliamentary seat even though she insists she has not quit showbiz.