Mmegi Online :: A date with two models at pantsula comp in Zola
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Thursday 19 October 2017, 16:39 pm.
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A date with two models at pantsula comp in Zola

What could possibly go wrong if you take out two pretty models on a night date at a pantsula competition inside a crowded community hall in the heart of the so-called notorious Old Naledi township, also known as Zola? Staff Writer THALEFANG CHARLES, who last weekend pulled this stunt, reports
By Thalefang Charles Fri 04 Aug 2017, 15:01 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: A date with two models at pantsula comp in Zola








The word model conjures images of beautiful, tall and slender girls on high heels and designer clothes with brisk confident walks. The kind that you find at the city’s upmarket boutique restaurants sipping on colourful expensive beverages from tall glasses, while tracking notifications of their Instagram selfies from their smartphones. It is a world apart from what the word pantsula brings to mind.

Even though the pantsula criminal stigma might be wearing off, many still see mapantsula as sleek, fast-paced and handsome thieves that can stab you for fun with their sharp Okapi knives. So attending a pantsula competition at Old Naledi, one of the city’s notorious neighbourhoods, especially on a month-end weekend, to some people, including my model dates, was a dangerous adventure.

But to me arriving with two beautiful models - a former beauty queen and a contemporary dancer who features in local hip-hop music videos – at a pantsula gig in the heart of Zola sounded like an exciting adventure. “You’ll love it,” I kept reassuring them but until one voiced her biggest fear, which they both shared.

She said: “My greatest fear in being at such places at night is getting raped. I don’t know if I could survive rape”. This was a genuine and real hazard that nearly led me to drive back but I stubbornly went in.

We entered Zola just after 10pm. Even though I acted like a relaxed and untroubled tour-guide, I did not know the location of the Community Hall where the function was held. So we drove to the Shopping Complex crowded with people to find if we could get directions from there. Without exiting the vehicle, we asked one woman the whereabouts of the Hall and she said she cannot give specific directions but pointed at its general location saying if you follow the road you could ask again ahead.

Some streets were lit, others too dark. We saw little children playing by the roadside under the streets lights. “You see, this place is safe, watch, the children playing at night,” I tried to use the children as a reassurance for my models that they are safe. Then there was one woman squatting, possibly peeing next to the road. I used that too – I swear it appeared like a sign of safe neighbourhood. We continued to snake through the small streets of Zola in the general direction that we got and met lots of dogs crisscrossing the road. I did not know what roaming dogs say about the safety of the streets.

After a few turns and curves we stopped a combi driver to ask for directions and it turned out that we were almost there - just one corner and we arrived. The hall yard entrance was buzzing with people. There were hawkers lined around the gate and the parking was full but there was no way we could park outside. So we parked illegally behind some cars and blocked the way. And thinking about it now, this was a loud

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call for trouble.

Before we got off the vehicle I gave my guests a short survival talk on how to enter the hall door. I told them that there will be lots of guys at the entrance and they are going to try to find if there are any phones, money, wallets or valuable items lying idle inside their pockets but they are not going to ask for permission. So they cleared off their pockets, filled up their drinks (no tall glasses nor colourful drinks here) and we shot for the door.

The initial entrance was smooth and under two minutes we were already inside. It was hot, fun and packed with people. The competition was in full swing and the audience loving it. My model guests were having the time of their life right there in the middle of one of the so-called notorious neighbourhoods in Gaborone.

Then came the time for drinks refill, which meant we had to step outside to the car. It was already around midnight and it was chaotic by the entrance. There were lots of men shoving and pushing by the entrance. And when we forced ourselves through the chaos at the door, that is when we felt hands searching on our pockets, others going astray and searching deep in between the pants and the underwear of my guests.

Going back inside was even more chaotic than getting out. The pushing and shoving had gotten too violent that the doorkeepers had given up and let everyone get in. But surprisingly the crowd of men outside the door did not want to get in. Their interest was just the scramble activity at the door.

When we finally made it inside, after surviving what felt like a messy rugby scrum, I asked one of the pantsula’s inside why they are treating their guests like that. The young man, who was equally disappointed, dismissed the door rascals as ‘manyora’ (petty thieves) trying to spoil a good initiative of elegant mapantsula.

He said, “Manyora a re senyetsa monate. Brayaka gao kake wa kgarametsa batho so, o apere Brentwood. Ke manyora dae dai” (These petty thieves are messing our party. You can’t be pushing and shoving like that if you are wearing a Brentwood trousers. These are petty thieves not mapantsula).

At the end, we witnessed the finale, which was against the legend pantsula, Ditshotlo ‘Chillie Pantsula’ Mabifi versus the youngster Thabiso Ramogale popularly known as ‘Discovery’. One of my guests insisted that we should leave the hall before the announcement of the results because she had a weird feeling that there might be violent protest if the judges can pick a winner that is not favoured by the crowd. I reluctantly heeded her advice and we left the building during the calm before the storm.

The following day we received news that one person was stabbed to death after a fight that started from the hall and the police were also investigating two cases of rape at Old Naledi that weekend.

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