11 June 2018

Rwanda: Discrimination Reports At Local Hangout Provoke Angry Reactions

Photo: Supplied
Nodumo Ncomanzi.

Over the weekend, a Zimbabwean national who is currently visiting Rwanda took to Twitter to accuse a popular Kigali nightclub of denying her entry because she is albino.

Nodumo Ncomanzi, who goes by the handle @justDumo, wrote on Twitter saying that she had gone out with friends when bouncers at the Kimihurura-based popular hangout denied her entry, which she said was social discrimination.

Several tweeps agreed with her.

"I had a lovely Saturday. Until @CocobeanKgl denied me entry into the club because I am albino. Apparently a person with albinism "causes a scene", and a "no albinos" policy was placed," she posted on Sunday.

I had a lovely Saturday. Until @CocobeanKgl denied me entry into the club because I am albino. Apparently a person with albinism "causes a scene" ,and a "no albinos" policy was placed.

-- uyauya (@justDumo) June 10, 2018

In an exclusive phone interview with The New Times, the female Zimbabwean narrated that she had gone out with three friends - one of them a Rwandan - but was bounced, and that the club's policy doesn't allow albinos to enter the club.

"It was Saturday night between 12:30 and 1am. We had just left People Club to go to Cocobean with my friends and when we got there, one of the bouncers took one of my friends aside and started to explain to her in Kinyarwanda what exactly the problem was," she noted.

"My friend came and told us that apparently, they have a policy where there are no albinos allowed in the club because the last time there was a person with albinism in the club it caused a scene.

"But another friend went out to talk to the bouncer for a relatively long time to understand what had happened earlier, but nothing more useful came from them," she added.

Ncomanzi revealed that that they left the place and one of her friends tried to call management to inquire what was wrong, and they were told to come back, but when they got there, the lady with whom they had spoken refused to come out.

She and her friends decided to go to another nearest bar known as Ogopogo where they had a few drinks and returned home.

Ncomanzi is a regular visitor who is currently in Rwanda on a two-week visit. But she said she was shocked with this horrible experience in a country like Rwanda that she takes as a secure country.

Her previous tweets attracted series of angry reactions from several people, including those who have experienced discriminatory acts from the same club.

But in a defensive tweet, the club tweeted back in a seemingly vague response claiming that they had briefed their staff.

"We deeply apologize for what happen this Saturday, we had a specific briefing with our workers regarding the entrance, to make sure that this doesn't happen to anybody again," the club tweeted, without clearly indicating which briefing they had given to the bouncers.

@justDumo We deeply apologize for what happen this Saturday, we had a specific briefing with our workers regarding the entrance, to make sure that this doesn't happen to anybody again.

-- Cocobean (@CocobeanKgl) June 10, 2018

Others speak out

Many other people opened up on their experience at this club, with many condemning the discriminatory policies that the club has devised for their customers.

Many revelers shared their experience saying that they have been bounced because for reasons they said were trivial, like wearing ripped jeans - a rule that they said was not applied to some foreigners.

Among the first people to react to Ncomanzi's complaint was Justice Minister and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye, who promised to follow up on the issue.

Thank you Uyauya for raising this. We will follow it up.

-- Busingye Johnston (@BusingyeJohns) June 10, 2018

On Twitter, many other reports from outraged revelers accused the club of homophobic and sexist prejudices.

"Let's not even talk about any Rwandese trying to enter there with shorts. Apparently, shorts that foreigners wear are different from ours," one person tweeted.

"Happened to me on the night of Feb 16. At this point, being a slave to Cocobean is a choice. I'm so sorry for the discrimination you had to endure," another tweeted.

Rwandan authorities tweeted saying that they are following up on the issue.

"Very unfortunate experience and I am sad to hear you were treated like that. @BeliseKariza RDB Chief Tourism Officer has informed me that she is investigating the matter to ensure it never happens again to you or any other person," Clare Akamanzi, Rwanda Development Board's chief executive tweeted.

Very unfortunate experience and I am sad to hear you were treated like that. @BeliseKariza RDB Chief Tourism Officer has informed me that she is investigating the matter to ensure it never happens again to you or any other person.

-- Clare Akamanzi (@cakamanzi) June 11, 2018

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