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Black Dancer on ‘Whites-Only’ Stage


I turned up at a much publicised show painted pitch black from head to toe, and wearing an African wig. Was I trying to be different or was I making a statement?

Drums. Just drums beating as the black figure moved in slow motion, balancing a basket on her head.

First the silence. Then, in Afrikaans, a shrill lady’s voice rising up above the sounds of the drums and the silence; “Dis dan ‘n swart k… meid!”

Mission accomplished?

It started in a town called Volksrust. A group of people booked me to perform a cabaret act at a public venue. Then Volksrust was divided and a small war broke out ‘for’ and ‘against’ Glenda Kemp. Then the war spread like a fire and the whole country was drawn in to the battle field and I was in the line of fire!

I said I would shock them. The publicity was so intense and the reactions from all sides of the country so strong that I had to do something that was up to their expectations. I would do more than that.

Everyone expected me to sign my own death warrant and strip naked. No one expected me to change my identity and dance my way in to the apartheid law. Somewhere in to the show I pulled off the afro wig and my long blond hair crowning and flowing around the black face and body made the whole scene more bizarre.

Like a Colombo of old, I was going around kicking up dust and as it settled, another town was put on the map.

Dressed in black...

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About GlendaKempHarper

My name is Glenda Harper. I was Glenda Kemp, the "Snake dancer". When I was in my 20’s, I exposed my body. Now I am in my 60’s, I expose my spirit. visit http://readandpraywithglenda.wordpress.com/about/ for more

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