The authorities of Zambia on Saturday, March 10, deported a controversial female South African dancer, Zodwa Wabantu, who is popularly known for performing without underwear.
According to Reuters, the reason for her deportation was over concerns about Christian morality and fears that her performance would “undermine national values”.
It is understood that Zodwa had been billed to perform at an album launch later on Saturday evening, but was sent back when she landed in the morning at the Kenneth Kaunda international airport.
“I can confirm that Zodwa has been deported back to South Africa by the immigration department,” her promoter Lucky Munakampe told AFP, adding no reasons were given for her deportation.
Last week, Zambia’s religious affairs minister Godfridah Sumaili told AFP that Zodwa would not be allowed to perform in the country.
“Zambia is a Christian nation where morality and ethics have to be followed. We don’t expect a woman to dance without underwear,” Sumaili said.
In the same vein, the organizers of the show said in a statement earlier this week that Zambia’s National Arts Council had rejected their application.
“The Council stated that… Zodwa’s performances were not in the public interest and undermined our national values,” the statement said.
— Mwebantu (@Mwebantu) March 8, 2018
Speaking on the incident, Zodwa told TshisaLIVE that she arrived in Zambia late on Friday night ahead of a scheduled performance in the country on Saturday evening.
Sunday Times quoted the news outlet as saying that she was stopped by immigration authorities and escorted to a hotel with no real explanation about what was happening.
“They stopped me at the airport and said I couldn’t perform. They didn’t give me any reasons. I think our promoters were also in the dark. I didn’t even leave the hotel,” she said.
Zodwa said a fight ensued between her promoters and Zambian authorities, and after hours of discussion, she was told she would be put on the first flight back to South Africa.
Zambia is a largely conservative country where the majority of people practice Christianity.
Last year the censorship board in neighbouring Zimbabwe barred Wabantu from performing at an annual carnival after a protest by a local actress.
Following a backlash, censorship authorities later backtracked and allowed Wabantu to perform at a private venue, but she refused to go saying she was afraid.