SOUNDTRACK: Winstone Antonio
THE resignation of Hapaguti “Hapaz” Mapimhidze from his post as Dancers Association of Zimbabwe (DAZ) president about a fortnight ago, leaving veteran dancer-cum-musician Precious “Wasu Dacoda” Makwame as the interim leader, is a welcome move.
The birth of DAZ in 2010 by Hapaz and some of its founding members helped bring professionalism to the dance floor and there is no doubt that during his tenure he did a splendid job and contributed to the growth of the local dancing profession.
While assuming a top leadership role, especially for a woman, has been a subject of debate that has attracted mixed reactions, it is hoped Wasu will prove the naysayers
A lot still needs to be done by Wasu in terms of bringing professionalism into the art and convincing society that dancing is a profession through which they can earn a decent living.
With DAZ being the dancers’ mother body meant to specifically handle dancers’ affairs, it is Wasu’s modus operandi that will probably bring the much-needed transformation for the dancers who have remained at the mercy of venue owners and arts promoters.
For a long time, the association has been labelled a toothless bulldog after it failed to justify its existence.
The implementation of the professional ethics and codes to transform the dancing trade has remained far below expected levels.
Hopefully, Wasu will be able to look at some of the sticking issues which include poor remuneration for dancers, which has led to allegations of dancers providing “backstage” romance to both promoters and patrons they would have lured with their often sexually suggestive dances as they gyrate on different stages for money.
Dancers are on record saying DAZ has left them at the hands of promoters and club owners who fail to appreciate and pay them accordingly despite the fact that they have families to feed.
As part of efforts to restore order in the dancing industry, I believe organising a number of workshops to educate dancers about the rules and regulations that govern them will be ideal such that they will not have a brush with the law.
In the past, unbecoming behaviour on the part of the dancers has triggered police action, leading to a crackdown on delinquent dancers who promote “moral decadence” which saw the arrest of Shantel Chirumuta, who was a member of Chocolate Barbes after she became intimate on stage with a patron at club Red 32 in Southerton in January 2015.
On several occasions, the Sexy Angels boss Beverly Sibanda has been arrested on charges of breaching the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act by violating terms of her dancing licence.
After Hapaz, as the then DAZ president, failed to set up a funding scheme to cater for its members in case of problems, it is hoped that greater and more positive developments are going to happen under Wasu’s leadership so that dancers can be cushioned from economic hardships through the scheme’s funds.