Love & Sex

On Stage at the World’s Most Perverted Strip Show

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On Stage at the World’s Most Perverted Strip Show

"Up on stage, I’m asked if I’m ready to pump."

By Matthew Stein

There’s no mistaking Uganda’s capital, Kampala, for a prudish city. Bars are constantly crowded with scantily clad bodies, beach parties by Lake Victoria often evolve into mild orgies, while Kabalagala — a cluster of cheap bars and love hotels — is considered one of East Africa’s biggest sex hubs. But if you really want to understand the depth of Kampala’s sexual degeneracy there’s no substitute for a night out at a local kimansulo bar.

I learned of kimansulo from my Ugandan friend James. “It’s a cross between a strip and a sex show,” he explained one day over lunch. “Most people here won’t even go near one.” 

Finding a kimansulo bar, I would discover, is no easy task; it requires a certain arcane knowledge that only someone hip to Kampala’s sex scene would possess. For James and I, it takes several days of riding around town, talking with shopkeepers and taxi drivers, to stumble upon one.  

We arrive at the venue — a large derelict, warehouse-like space — after 11pm. The adjacent dusty, rock-strewn streets are all but abandoned save for a couple of bodies grilling chicken by the roadside and a few dimly lit shops.

We pay the entrance fee (about $1.25) and submit to a healthy body search before being ushered through a sliding metallic gate. Inside a predominantly male crowd sits calmly in rows facing a platform where a group of girls are dancing provocatively. They all look to be in their mid 20s, each with a different weave piled on their head. By western standards almost all are overweight; but according to James, they are just right for the local palate.

After a few numbers, two DJs walk onto the stage and begin shouting Uganda’s native Luganda dialect into the microphone. One is tall with dreads; the other one short and bald. They move excitedly from one girl to the next, lifting skirts and pulling down pants to reveal one shaved vagina after the next. “Is this one sweet enough?” they ask the crowd. “Is it juicy enough?”

Once each girl has been sufficiently exposed, they are divided into two teams. Given the popularity of English Premiere Football in Uganda, one team is called Arsenal and the other Manchester United.

One by one, a member from each team is called to center stage for a dirty dance off. The audience cheers and shows its support by throwing shilling bills at the girls they like. By the time the competition concludes all the girls are naked and two piles of cash have accumulated on the stage.

In the midst of this, I’m suddenly spotted by one of the DJs. “Mzungu, mzungu!” he calls out, employing the local vernacular for white man. Within a heartbeat he’s down by my seat, pulling me towards the stage. I have four shots of whisky and an equal number of beers in my system, so I greet the attention with good humor.

Up on stage, under the blinding lights, with two hundred horny eyeballs looking up at me, I’m asked if I’m ready to pump. 

“Pump?” I repeat.

“Yes, pummmmp, mzungu” says the DJ, thrusting his pelvis to underscore his words.

“Ohh, no,” I respond. “I think I’ll leave that to you.”

Suddenly one of the girls is presented to me and a slow Mariah Carey song comes over the loud speaker. The girl puts her arms around me. She’s sweating and tries to avert my eyes. After a few moments, we’re interrupted and I’m asked again if I’m ready to pump. “If you don’t pump, mzungu,” I’m told, “then you’ll need to pay us.” But my patience for this degrading charade has reached its limit. “Fine, fine, I’ll pay you,” I say spuriously as I dash off the stage. 

Safely ensconced back in my seat, I watch in awe as the show reaches new depths of perversion: one girl is told to lie down with her legs apart so she can be entered with a straw. The DJ sucks hard and long, and then turns to the audience and spits the accumulated liquid into the first few rows. The men lunge towards it eagerly. “More,” they demand. 

Another woman is promptly selected and placed on a chair. She spreads her legs and the DJ begins to tease her clitoris with an empty glass bottle. She squirts copiously.

Finally we reach the show’s final act. As the DJs rap and perform acrobatics on stage, the girls are dispersed into different corners of the room. They move their naked bodies between the rows, straddling one reveler after the next. In exchange for Shs 2,000 (80 cents) you can finger them and play with their breasts.

I watch in horror as the women are passed around; a sense of nausea washes over me as one of them slides into my row. I want to escape but scurrying out at this point might arouse suspicion. And then, without warning, she’s on top of me. I can smell the sweat all over her.

“Give me 2,000 mzungu,” she says.

“Please get off of me,” I reply.

She inches her breasts closer to my face. “You don’t want fun, mzungu?” she says.

“No, I don’t,” I say as I try to edge her off. “Try someone else.”

After the crowd has been satiated, the plastic chairs are stacked up and loud Luganda beats come over the speakers. A group of prostitutes move about the crowd trying to capitalize on all the excitement.

Backstage, I’m told, an even more explicit sex show is about to commence. “It’s another Shs10,000 ($4) to go watch,” says James. But this mzungu can’t stomach anymore; time for a long shower and a return to quiet — or the closest thing to it in this crazy town.

Matthew Stein navigates unique and unfamiliar sex cultures at