While there is talk about the unrestrained performer testing positive for COVID-19 just before she could leave for Botswana, some are insisting that the police were ready to arrest and deport her for offending against standards of decency. Staff Writer SESUPO RANTSIMAKO reports
Unconfirmed reports say promoters of the People’s Festival had to cancel the slot of controversial South African entertainer, Zodwa Wa Bantu, at the last minute because police were allegedly instructed to arrest and charge her for her immoral stagecraft.
Zodwa – who is known for her near-nude gyrations on stage that include taking off her panties – was scheduled to perform at the festival organised by Gilbert Promotions at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium last Friday. However, her trip was cancelled on the eve of the event purportedly after she reportedly tested COVID-19 positive.
Announcing her failed departure from SA, Gilbert Seagile of Gilbert Promotions said Zodwa – who goes on stage in scant gossamer – learnt of her COVID test results before she could leave for Botswana. He dismissed rumours of plans to arrest her, saying government representatives present at a press briefing before the festival would have raised objections about her.
But sources say testing positive for COVID-19 aside, alleged threats to arrest and eventually deport the hugely popular star prevented her from coming. “An instruction from a high office was issued to BPS to arrest and lay charges against the controversial entertainer,” one told The Botswana Gazette.
However, the chief spokesman of Botswana Police Service (BPS), Assistant Commissioner Dipheko Motube says he is constrained to comment on something that never happened. Even so, sources are not backing off and are insisting that BPS was instructed to use Sections 167 and 176 of the Penal Code to arrest the controversial entertainer.
Section 167 proscribes public indecency while Section 176 prohibits common nuisance.
Reached for comment, Seagile dismissed the rumours. “I do not think they hold water,” he said. “If they were true, the government would have raised an objection at the press briefing. What I can confirm is that her trip failed due to positive COVID-19 results. Even her bookings in SA were cancelled.”
The controversial entertainer is billed for the third phase of the People’s Festival in Maun a few days before Christmas. Zodwa Wa Bantu was deported from Zambia over concerns about Christian morality a few years ago.
The country’s religious affairs minister at the time, Godfridah Sumaili, told The Times of Zambia that Zodwa was not welcome in Zambia because she was promoting immorality. The late Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe also stopped her from performing in his country.