Born in the 80s

"Strictly", African-style

I just went to a dance/fitness class given by a “reinvented 80s pop singer”. Before class he gave me a CD of his latest single, told me about his 70s disco/80s pop radio show and revealed that he’s just back from a stint as a judge on what sounds like the Tanzanian equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing. Before I could take all this in, Tony was already wiggling his perfectly formed bum and instructing us to “Pop it to the right!” with his perfectly formed British English vowels.

The air-conditioned, clean, bright dance studios, and the Oyster Bay shopping centre that houses them, are about as Western as you can get.  This is the kind of place in which you could hide from Africa, spending 10,000 Tsh notes in the deli or the Japanese restaurant or the pet shop. You could go there by car – or better, in a white 4×4 – so that you don’t have to be one of the few white people walking along the road. And so that you only talk to the well-trained guards and waiters, and not the men on the street shouting mzungu at you.

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