‘We are not strippers‚’ say prison dancers

That is the emphatic message from Busi Mahlangu‚ one of the scantily clad dancers who were photographed performing at Johannesburg Medium-B prison.

The Sowetan quoted her on Tuesday as saying: “We are professional street dancers and we had gone there on invitation.”

Correctional services managers and lower-ranking officials are among 13 people facing possible suspension after photographs of the event‚ held as part of Youth Month celebrations‚ went viral on social media.

Acting National Correctional Services Commissioner James Smalberger described scenes depicted in the photographs as “unacceptable”.

Mahlangu told the Sowetan the performance was put on by three women and three men. “We are shocked that we are now being called strippers.”

Cassius Tlhotlhalemaje‚ a male performer in the group who is also a choreographer‚ said the routine took nine minutes. Prisoners and officials gave them a guard of honour when they were about to leave.

“There was nothing sexual about it‚” he told the newspaper.

Mahlangu said the furore would affect the reputation of the dancers.

“Someone took advantage of the situation and manipulated it to suit the power struggle that is currently going on there (at the prison)‚” she added.

“Thirteen of our officials will be contemplated for suspension if they were found to have flouted departmental rules‚” warned Smalberger.

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