Saturday, March 6, 2021

Bouncers: Friends turned Foes?

A bouncer is the guy who maintains law and order at parties and night clubs. He does that by slapping errant night crawlers around or worse breaking their knee caps.

People can be difficult at times, especially when they are drunk, so bouncers will always be needed to maintain law and order when things get out of hand.

Over the years, as Botswana’s night life blossomed, the need for more bouncers arose. Customers also started demanding tighter security at their favourite night spots.

Crazy young revellers, dressed in jaw dropping outfits, pockets lined with wads of cash as they danced the night away, demand value for money and that included tight security.

But a problem has emerged from this whole set-up. Many young people who frequent night clubs regularly fall victim to these bouncers, their would-be protectors. Every weekend we hear about how a burly bouncer beat up a youthful party animal to a pulp for stepping on their shoes or chatting up the wrong chick.

Tshidiso* talks with a heavy lisp and he has no front teeth, thanks to an unforgettable duel with a bouncer at a nightclub.

“Basically they go into a venue and offer to take over security. As time goes on, they hike the price from say P350 per bouncer per night to as much as P850 per bouncer per night. Then they put ten guys at the door when you only need two. These guys practically take over control of clubs that they don’t own,” he said.

“Before you know it they basically run the place and they can do what they want and kick out whoever they want. They take out whoever threatens them and if you don’t follow their lead, you get the hiding of your life,” he said.

He added that he was beaten up by bouncers after they accused him of looking at them funny. He said one of the bouncers passed an unpleasant remark about the girls he had taken out.

We talked to a popular bouncer, Gadzani ‘Champion’ Ntombo, who has been a bouncer for the past five years. He chanced upon the trade through his weightlifting colleagues. Champion’s typical greeting is a clenched fist and a menacing grin. He is a burly fella with a receding hairline and a gruff voice to boot. He looks about eighty kilos. With his burly frame and gruff voice, he is not the kind of guy you would want to cross paths with, let alone bump into in a dark alley in the middle of the night.

“You see these youngsters don’t understand how we operate in Gabs. If you gate crash an event it’s against our law. If you harass patrons who are trying to have fun it is against our law, and there is nothing else that irritates me like catching someone trying to smuggle in some alcohol at an event that I’m taking care of,” said Champion.

The police have blasted clubs and the bouncers who work for them.

“We are tired of substance-induced violent control,” said Dipheko Motube, Botswana Police Public Relations Officer.

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