Revellers were treated to a free boxing match at the launch of Jah Prayzah’s thirteenth album, Maita Baba, last weekend at Queens Sports Club, as bouncers started throwing punches at each other at the main gate of the venue.
The fight was a war for territory between Harare and Bulawayo bouncers.
The organisers of the gig ferried three bouncers from Harare to provide security at the launch, because “they can be trusted”.
However, at around 11pm on the night of the gig, about seven Bulawayo bouncers seemed to have organised themselves and decided to cause commotion at the main gate, a fracas that even attracted police, with some revellers getting injured in the process.
Local bouncers sought to access the venue for free and that did not go down well with the bouncers who were hired to provide order and security, leading to exchange of harsh words and blows, in a fight that lasted at least 20 minutes.
The official launch of Jah Prayzah’s Maita Baba album in Bulawayo
“You can’t come all the way from Harare to tell us what to do, this is our home, it’s our territory that we control. Where do you think we will get money to feed our families when you invade and work in our place,” one bouncer was overheard by this reporter during the row.
The main reason for an organiser of a show to hire bouncers of his or her preference is based on trust issues and reliability.
“When you are hiring bouncers to provide security at your gig, you consider many aspects but the most vital one is honesty. You must trust the bouncers at the gate because they will be guarding your money as well as the revellers at the show.
“So, I understand what the organisers at the Jah Prayzah show did, they came with their security personnel who they trust which is good for business because you will be avoiding losses.
“Bouncers are capable of stealing your money as they can allow a certain number of revellers who will be giving them money directly instead of buying tickets. That can cripple the promoter who is in business,” said local celebrated promoter Mduduzi Mdlongwa from 3D Events.
He also condemned violence caused by bouncers and suggested how best promoters could strike a balance of employment opportunities among security people.
“There was violence at the event but we don’t tolerate that because lives can be lost during these unnecessary provocations. However, a promoter must also try beefing up their security by also hiring and fusing his team with local bouncers.
“By doing so, there will be peace and local bouncers will also get their slice of the cake. These bouncers belong to different companies. Therefore, one has to be professional by approaching their structures, instead of hiring individuals,” said Mdlongwa.
A local bouncer who preferred not to be mentioned said one of the reasons they end up making revellers enter the venue by paying directly to them was because there was no motivation as they get US$30 from the promoters for their risky service.
“The honest truth is promoters don’t pay us. All the shows that you can think of, we were paid US$30 instead of at least US$100 each. Because of these poor remunerations, you will then find other bouncers taking money from the sides and allow patrons to enter for free.
“I don’t promote violence, but when shows are happening in Bulawayo, we must benefit. We won’t allow a bouncer from somewhere else to come and reign in our territory. We have families to feed, so if people come and steal bread from us what must we do,” he said.
He said promoters must pay them better as their job was dangerous.