Storm over teen performances in night clubs

HARARE - Performers in night clubs by underage artistes will attract the full wrath of the law, the Zimbabwe Censorship Board has said.

The warning has been triggered by a Valentine’s Day gig featuring controversial dancer Beverly ‘Bev’ Sibanda and young Zimdancehall artistes Ras Pompy (14) and Spiderman (15) that was scheduled to take place at Calvary Night Club in Kadoma yesterday.

Amidst social media anger directed at Bev for allegedly corrupting Ras Pompy and Spiderman Zimbabwe Censorship Board secretary Isaac Chigaranyika told the Daily News on Sunday that it was unlawful for teenage artistes to perform in night  clubs which have age restrictions.

“It is illegal for any teenager to enter a club.  Most clubs have an age restriction of 18 and 21 years, so those performances are illegal. We will look into that matter and take the necessary action,” he said.

Chigaranyika cited Section 16, (5) of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act which states that “Subject to subsection (6), the Board may approve or reject any public entertainment unconditionally or approve it subject to the condition that it shall not be exhibited or given—

(a) to persons of a specified age” and Section 27(1) (a) which adds that, “ (1) Where the Board has approved a film, film advertisement or public entertainment subject to the condition that it shall not be exhibited or given to persons of a specified age or sex, no person who is of such specified age or sex shall be present at any place at which the film, advertisement or public entertainment is being exhibited or given: Provided that it shall be a sufficient defence for a person charged with a contravention of this section if he proves to the satisfaction of the court that he was, at the relevant time—

(a) required to be present at such exhibition or performance in the course of his employment.”

Bev’s manager, Harpers Mapimhidze told the Daily News on Sunday that those criticising the Bev’s joint show with the two teenage artistes were guilty of hypocrisy.

“Those people are crazy. Ras Pompy and Spiderman are always performing in night clubs and other venues. What is wrong with them performing with Beverly? Now that Beverly is sharing a stage with them it’s now a crime,” he said.

“These kids are exposed to a lot of things and were exposed to them even before sharing the stage with Bev.Bev performs at family shows where there are small kids, even ages of three, doing the appropriate dances of course. But look at this, these two artistes and they will just be doing their work.”

The show organiser, only identified as DJ Tom Vibes, said they had included the two teen performers after being approached by their manager.

“Our show only had Bev but the club manager was approached by two young artistes’ manager Holymann who asked us to slot them in. We agreed because Zimdancehall is the latest craze right now,” he said.

“I do not see what the issue is really here.These guys are always performing at different places, what has changed? People are trying to create a mountain out of a mole hill.”

Holymann also hit back at the critics of the concert.

“I don’t know what they want me to do. It is just a show; there is nothing more to it. They will perform around 7pm and leave the place. We have never shared the stage with Bev before and this is our first time,” he said.

He also confirmed that he had asked the club to include the two young artistes in Bev’s gig.

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