A few years ago, Zimbabwean men would go to neighbouring countries like South Africa and Swaziland for female strip tease shows.
But today those who follow canal desires need not look further than nightclubs in Zimbabwe. Although this phenomenon is considered taboo in our conservative nation, the likes of raunchy, sexy and naughty controversial like dancers Beverly Sibanda aka Bev and Zoey Sifelani aka Zoey have popularised the nightclub pole dancing and strip tease industry as evidenced by their countrywide tours.
In Harare nightclubs, high density areas have also caught up with the stripping craze and they are reportedly popular with patrons. Strip tease is permissible under Zimbabwean law and those who ply the trade are required to acquire a certificate from the Censorship Board which allows them to strip tease in public. In this struggling economy, some club owners have capitalised on the demand for this strip tease which patrons say is an addictive aphrodisiac.
We recently caught up in a strip tease show at a Harare Club, Hollys, which is located downtown. The club in downtown Harare was packed to the brim notwithstanding the fact that it was mid-week.
They have two juxtaposed clubs, the stripping area is called the private lounge where you have to part with five dollars(or more depending on the day of the week) and the other bar which is ‘filled’ with ladies of the night selling their wares and regular patrons interested more in dancing.
Enquiries established a night of passion with the thigh vendors will cost you an average of 30 to 50 dollars, with some cheeky, ‘premium’ ones demanding up to even a $100, that is if you are interested in a special, customised package.
A single session popularly known as short time will set you off five to ten dollars.
As for the Private Lounge, men and women of different ages turned up to see young women strut their stuff and strip to their birthday suits. And hey, men are also stripping!
The show begins with at least two girls strutting their stuff on the ramp while covering their private parts, only leaving nothing else to imagination. All eyes are glued to the stage where the strippers gyrate to the beat of the music.
The second phase of the show sees the strippers off stage, dancing close enough to the patrons so that they can have a closer view.
Well-healed patrons can at that moment pay the strippers for a lap dance but without any physical contact. So popular are these shows that they draw people from all walks of life ranging from the vendors to business executives.
However, with all the excitement that ensues during these shows, many rules are broken and the consequences are usually dire. Last year, two strippers, Brenda Chitsiga and Candice Namatika were hauled before the courts for contravening the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act.
They had pulled a male patron onto the stage and started performing raunchy dances contravening the Entertainment Control Act, which prohibits physical contact with fans.
A stripper who was interviews said it was difficult to avoid physical contact when performing a lap dance.
“We usually perform these acts when we are drunk and when you are intoxicated, it is difficult to control your actions,” the 20-year-old stripper said.
A male patron at a Harare club said attending such shows had become part and parcel of his everyday routine. “This is the only club that is alive and kicking during the week. I always make it a point to come here before I go home. It’s addictive, I just can’t do without it,” he said.
The man who said he was 45 said he, however, did not take his addiction outside the club. “I am a regular here but I only come to watch and I do not entertain the strippers outside the club because I have a wife at home,” he said.
One of the strippers, however, said that some of the patrons were romantically involved with some of them. “My sister introduced me to this business, her boyfriend is a regular here,” she said.
This reporter also observed an elderly white man entering the club. As soon as he entered, a young stripper donning a glittering silver tiara immediately left the stage and hugged the man. She immediately went back on stage and continued dancing.
When this reporter caught up with the stripper who had an eye ring and very dark make-up and called herself the “Queen”, she confessed the elderly man was her boyfriend.
The form of entertainment began as far back as the days of Tapiwa Matangaidze’s Oblivion club. Peter Mubi’s Londoners’ strip tease would, however, begin late at night around 10pm but these days one may even find strippers strutting their stuff as early as 6pm.
But the flip-side of the increasingly popular form of entertainment is that it is also associated with the mafia and trafficking. In Eastern Europe, where strip tease is popular, girls from poor backgrounds usually ply the trade and are easily manipulated owing to their economic disposition.
The other flip-side is that strip-tease can make one a millionaire if what has become of the likes of Lolly Jackson is anything to go by.
Culled from iHarare