STRIPtease has become the rage in Bulawayo, where revellers fill up night spots every time there is a show, with promoters cashing in on the craze exported from Harare following the exploits of Beverly “Bev” Sibanda and Norleen “Zoey” Sifelani.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
Male revellers, in particular, jam-pack night clubs, where Harare strippers — among them Spider and Naked Weapons, Pinkly and Midnight Angles, China Girls, Magnito, Freaky Barbie and The Dog Rider — will be performing in erotic dances.
Most of the female dancers-cum-strippers trek from Harare, where they often fail to stand the competition, and their cheaper charges have also made them attractive to promoters in the City of Kings, where they leave fans clamouring for more after almost every performance.
Walter “DJ Sweeto” Ncube of Metropolis Pub and Umqombothi Sports Bar confirmed the strippers were the new trend in town.
“Strippers are the new trend in the city and of course it is far much cheaper than bringing Zimdancehall artistes, who are the next preferred option in entertainment,” he said.
“Considering the size of the clubs here in Bulawayo, strippers pull a massive crowd, which means there is always a possibility of covering expenses.”
DJ Sweeto said he was familiar with the club scene in Harare, where he spent much of his time before coming to Bulawayo and appreciates how clubs could hit a jackpot through striptease shows.
“I spent some time in Harare and that’s when I discovered the pace and when I came back to Bulawayo, I was eager to try this out. The first show was a real gamble and we got a lot of criticism, although some revellers were eager to partake in the new trend,” he said.
“We also realised that people were starved of this kind of entertainment. Revellers never seem to get enough of them, though you may know that they are outright strippers and pole dancers. Revellers mostly prefer the strippers, but the two modes are usually bundled up as one.”
Some stakeholders, however, expressed concern over the “perversion”, which they said appealed to people’s base instincts.
Photographer, Crispen Ndlovu — whose application for a bare breasts photography exhibition in the city was turned down by the Censorship Board — said strippers were the closest thing people could get to pornography.
“Last year I wanted to do a bare breast photography exhibition, but I got a letter from the Censorship Board saying I should stop the exhibition,” he said. “But why are these strippers allowed?”
Intwasa Arts Festival director, Raisedon Baya, said stripping in some clubs had scaled the borders of decency.
“I am an artiste and would like to respect every artiste, club dancers included. However, the stripping in some of the clubs is going to the extremes,” he said
“Not all entertainment is art. Some of the stuff taking place in the name of arts is shocking and should not go unchecked. Any woman can strip or rather let me say any woman can take off her clothes. But not any woman who takes off her clothes is an artiste.”
Admire Kudita, the founder of Culture Beat Africa (CBA), said stripping was merely an outshoot of contemporary culture and a consumable product.
“It’s a reflection on culture as it stands today. It’s a reflection on society because there is a consumption of that ‘product’. As CBA we take it as a challenge to create and cultivate platforms for higher art to be enjoyed by families and to provide alternatives,” he said.