Sydney Kawadza Senior Features Writer
Domboshava is a peri-urban area tucked away in an area of granite hills about 27 kilometres north of Harare. Known for the good, the bad and the ugly, the area became famous for the ugly in 2012.
Six men were murdered, five of them using the same method, raising suspicions that a gang of dangerous criminals was on the prowl.
Back then, residents blamed shop-owners for creating residential quarters at backyards of their business premises and renting them out to “questionable characters”, among them prostitutes.
Their complaints were justified.
Three years down the line, the growth point has not been a safe haven from the rest of the world’s challenges.
On November 13, 2015, more of the area’s social ills surfaced at a wild party at Zimbiru Business Centre, popularly known as kwaMverechena.
Some patrons who had had one too many stripped naked, others cheered them on, those disgusted by the uncanny behaviour simply called the police.
The culprits were five self-confessed prostitutes – Leosa Kazembe (20), Tracy Moyo (35), Nomsa Mabvindi (20), Florence Maodza (26), Alice Muramba – and Leon Misheck Chapita (who was even photographed exposing his manhood.)
Today they live in regret.
After being fined US$50 for public indecency and sentenced to perform 140 hours community service at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, the community in Domboshava has banished them in a cleansing process they hope will rid the area of all vices.
The bar at Mverechena Hotel has since been closed, including the booking rooms that housed the prostitutes.
There are also reports that the businessman who was running the hotel had his licence revoked after the embarrassing incident.
The Chinamhora community is not happy.
“We were not happy at all and after they were fined at the courts we told them to leave the area,” one man who witnessed the sordid event said.
Even fellow prostitutes at Mverechena had no kind words for their erstwhile colleagues.
“We do not understand what happened that day, but the incident has left us exposed to the mercy of the police who have become stricter and conduct regular raids at some of our lodgings,” one woman who identified herself as Rachel said.
“Those women are a disgrace and they should never set foot in this area again. They have given a bad name to our area.”
But what really happened that night? What pushes people to commit such lewd acts?
There are two versions coming out of Chinhamora explaining the events of the night.
Firstly, it is claimed that the pub owner (name supplied) held a bash celebrating his mother’s birthday.
“He invited everyone to his pub and there was too much beer that people got over-excited hence the nudity,” Rachel added.
Another version has it that Mverechena Hotel Night Club was not attracting enough patrons that the owners decided to spice things up.
“People shunned that place but almost everyone was at that night club as beer was flowing for free,” said another resident.
Eyewitnesses said there were several free bottles of Two Keys whiskey, Broncleer cough mixture and Black Label beers.
“It was a free for all on that day but most people were shocked when the ladies started to strip,” Jackson Dumbura said.
“We have heard it happen in other places but this was a first for us especially as it involved people we knew.”
While the women involved have since moved out of Chinamhora, Chapita has become an overnight celebrity.
A tout at the business centre, Chapita is well-known at Mverechena.
He is infamous for his drunken escapades.
The incident has, however, taken its toll on Chapita and his young family.
His colleagues at the commuter omnibus rank where Chapita, who is also known as Wangadzo or What-Say works, defend him.
Phillip Nhidza, another tout, said his colleague had suffered from the incident.
“He has a young family and is very afraid of a repeat of what happened to him. He spent about two nights in custody and the experience has been traumatic for him,” he said.
Another colleague, Jason Madamburo, said Chapita was a humble person but had gone too far on the night.
“I think it was the free beer. He is a popular person and even though he is known for his wayward drinking habits he has never caused any trouble and that explains his fear of the police,” he said.
His wife, Mai Leon, is equally protective of her husband.
She is afraid that if Chapita drinks again he will be in trouble.
The couple has a three-month-old baby.
“I do not know where he is but please if you see him, do not give him beer otherwise he will strip again. We have had enough problems because of that incident and I do not want it to happen again,” she said.
Meanwhile, the incident in Chinamhora is not isolated as reports indicate that strip-tease is now big business for night club owners in Zimbabwe.
Social commentators have, however, condemned these shows.
Popular radio and television personality Amai Rebecca Chisamba said these incidents indicate a breakdown in family set-up.
“In our culture we are taught that usapenge nebenzi, but its shows that parents are not taking their time to teach their children morals.
“However, I do not understand why people would strip naked or why some people would pay their money to watch naked people,” she said.
Amai Chisamba said laziness was leading people to strip in front of people for money.
“We all have a chance to watch porn, watch yourself naked when you are bathing because there is nothing different. Its total madness and shameful to be entertained or entertaining others with nudity,” she said.
University of Zimbabwe lecturer Professor Claude Mararike said stripping was an abomination.
“In our culture for a woman to strip naked is a sign of extreme grievance but when people are doing it for money it is sheer madness. However, society should take action against such actions which are more embarrassing in our culture,” he said.
Head of traditional leaders in Mashonaland East Chief Musarurwa was disappointed by the incident.
“We are disturbed with what is happening in that area and sometimes there is a strong belief that all the unfortunate incidents affecting our country are a direct result of such acts,” he said.
Chief Musarurwa blamed the social media for such incidents.
“Social media has brought some unknown cultures in our country. These are strange incidents that are circulated through WhatsApp and Facebook, which our children are trying to copy.”
He called on Government to look at ways it can ban such material from circulating in the social media.
“We love technology because of its various advantages but there should be some monitoring mechanism to put a stop to these acts,” he said.
Chief Musarurwa urged traditional leaders in Goromonzi to punish those involved.
“The conventional courts have done their part but these people should be summoned to the chief’s court to answer charges of soiling the area’s name.
“We cannot subscribe the right punishment for the offenders but appropriate action should be taken against the perpetrators,” he said.
The strip tease is one incident among many that have put Mverechena Business Centre on the spotlight.
In another unfortunate incident after the strip tease three men allegedly raped an under-age girl in the area.
Another prostitute was arrested after she reportedly went for a drinking spree wearing her soldier boyfriend’s uniform at the shops.