Last year I had a run in with the bouncers at the main stage who insisted that I couldn’t take long videos with my camera, and he stood there to budge me at least twice in a song to tell me to stop recording. I then asked him about the lady next to me who was recording on an iPhone and I said why don’t you tell her to stop recording. He insisted I wasn’t allowed to do it. It didn’t help that the lady was white and I was hoping he wasn’t approaching her because of that. I put it down to ignorance and I didn’t pursue it and complied.

This year the bouncers seemed friendlier to the point that they even let some members of the audience jump onto the stage and dance during the Roki and Mampi show. Then after The Noisettes show we stayed behind together with a lot of people who were just relaxing after the show. The securities came over and they wanted to get people out of the venue, but they couldn’t get themselves to tell them because the majority were white. Eventually a couple of bouncers made a beeline for the few black people who were there and they told them to get out. Then slowly they mustered enough courage to tell them to leave.

We discussed this attitude of selective treatment by the bouncers towards black and white festival goers. Imagine if this had been a crowd of only black people, I can assure you there would have been unnecessary provocation and man handling by the guards. During another show I wanted to leave using one of the exit points. I was told that we could not use these during a show and we must use the designated exit. I had no problem with this and some of my concerns were put to ease when I saw the the same treatment happen to an elderly white man. But as I left for the designated exit, I saw a young white couple head straight for the exit we had just been denied.

So I decided to stop and observe. They walked straight through without anyone asking them any questions, so I followed suit and sure enough I made it through without question from the very people who had denied me exit. I just didn’t not have any energy to query them on their selective attitude but it gave me the impression that we are still far from where we would like to be where everyone in Zimbabwe is treated as an equal.

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