You may have heard that nightlife in Harare's city centre is dead, but that cannot always be true for people like socialite Genius Kadungure, aka Ginimbi.
As far as they are concerned, the party goes on. In fact, Ginimbi's club was to have a magical experience last week on Saturday after undergoing a major five-month makeover to become the best club in Zimbabwe.
No doubt, a lot of money was spent in this makeover together with preparations for the launch. State-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment, which provide competitive advantages for dance clubs, was installed in the club.
However, they became one of the largest start-up expenses. Sound equipment needs include speakers, mixing boards, cabling, power outlets and rack-mount amplifiers.
Lighting equipment needs include bulbs, lighting mounts, flash pots, laser lights, smoke machines and control boards. All these were part of the makeover at Ginimbi's night club.
The club, formerly known as Sankayi, was rebranded Dreams.
A pre-launch ceremony organised for the press took place on August 22 prior to the launch.
In that ceremony, Ginimbi, who was dressed in a silk Versace shirt, which according to him cost him the same as the price one would pay for a car.
He was also donned in matching sneakers and some ripped jeans as he declared boastfully:
"There will be no place that is going to be like Dreams. If there is, I will close the following day."
We were all excited and became curious to see what this "new club" Dreams was going to be like. Despite the impact of economic hardships faced by many on local nightlife, lovers of nightlife still wanted to see for themselves the real exclusive Dreams Club.
Ginimbi suggested that his club was not for the poor and described it as the Versace of all clubs and that the facility would only be a place for the rich and big spenders, and not a place for cheap local beers.
People who attended the pre-launch saw this as a display of show-off, something which is not new to Ginimbi.
He once touched off a storm with his remarks during a radio interview when he said that he does not drive a Mercedes Benz E Class which he described as a civil servants' vehicle.
Although he later apologised for making this statement, it did not go down well with the public. The remarks raised the ire of many people.
One comment on social media in response to these remarks was:
"Yes civil servants earn very little, but one needs 5 O' Levels to become a civil servant which I doubt Ginimbi has, because if he had, he would have the brains to know that there is no need to show off like that."
A second comment from someone who was also enraged by those remarks read:
"Why do our boys who barely made it through their O' Level classes, always end up bragging like this when they have made a bit of money? If they are that rich, why don't they form organisations in which poor people will also benefit such as giving scholarships to those who cannot afford school fees or to help Zesa pay for electricity which we are in dire need of? Bill Gates does not make noise about his money. We know that he makes a lot of money because he gives some of it away to charity organisations. Can you imagine Strive Masiyiwa who has obviously been to school, bragging about his money? He doesn't. Instead he gives some of it to charity organisations such as the Joshua Nkomo Scholarship Fund."
Celebrities expected on the launch evening were Jah Prayzah, Nigerian hip-hop artiste Ice Prince and Buffallo Souljah, who were all conspicuous by their absence. Also expected was flamboyant socialites Luminista and Pokello who was also billed to celebrate her birthday at the club. By 11:30pm both Pokello and Luminista had not appeared at the club.
There was a red carpet and sufficient decor at the club luminated with flashing lights and some coloured balloons. None of the above-mentioned names whom the red carpet was laid for were there to walk on it.
Ginimbi, who came to his club driving a purple-coloured Bentley, confidently walked in with his head above his shoulders thinking that the organising of the event was perfect. Three female and two male members of the television crew whom he had hired from South African channel MTV Base Africa to film the event from 9pm to 11pm and stream it live found no Pokello, Ice Prince, Buffallo Souljah, Luminista or Jah Prayzah to film.
The red carpet was there. The MTV Base banner was on the club wall, but there was nobody to walk on the red carpet. In fact, Pokello was rumoured to be in Turkey.
According to Kimberley Jayde-Robinson, the MTV Base presenter, their mandate was to do a documentary on youth, culture and music. They chose not to interview Ginimbi because to them, he looked about 40.
According to them, youths are aged between 18 and 35. So they did not interview Ginimbi. In order to justify their travel to Harare, the team ended up interviewing Ammara Brown and Brian Kadengu who were elsewhere in Borrowdale so that they would have content on return to South Africa .
People started to trickle into the club around 11pm. A lot of them were turned away by the bouncers for wearing the wrong attire. I guess these were the poor people the club did not want.
One of those turned away remarked:
"Just because I am dressed like this, does not mean I am poor. I am probably richer than Ginimbi, but I don't go about bragging about my money. When he becomes bankrupt, which is quite possible, we will all be laughing at him. If you look inside you will see several skimpily-dressed under-age girls working as waitresses. Is that what we call proper dressing?"
However, an elitist club which only chooses a select group or class of people is in a way discriminatory.
One is lucky to have patrons who subscribe to this idea in these harsh economic times. People often ask: Why does Ginimbi behave in this way?
No one has given me a straight answer, but in my opinion that way of doing things, is known as compensatory behaviour.
In psychology, compensation is a strategy whereby one covers up, consciously or unconsciously, weaknesses, frustrations, desires, or feelings of inadequacy or incompetence in one life area through the gratification or (drive towards) excellence in another area. Money gives Ginimbi gratification.
And my advice to those patrons who got turned away is that they should find clubs which suit their needs and pockets. They should not despair. Whether one is looking to stunt with sparklers and bottle service or to dance the night away in an underground warehouse, if not at Dreams Nightclub, you'll surely find what you're after once the sun goes down.
Platforms like Instagram have also allowed us to discover new venues and parties in real time. So one need not worry if the get turned away at Ginimbi's venue.
There is always an alternative. That, in turn will push proprietors and party masters to create new attention-worthy experiences and moments that'll inspire people to get off their couches. And it's in part thanks to the technology.
Before the naysayers come for me, I'm not saying there is a better club than Dreams or will there ever be another Dreams Nightclub in Harare, but that doesn't mean people can stop enjoying a night out on the town if they are turned away at this club.
There are other places which can be both memorable and surprising -- especially when you're with the right people. And at least within the Zimbabwe, Harare City remains the ultimate travel destination for nightlife fans.
However, if one wants to attract the rich only, then Club Sankayi (now Dreams) should make a move to Borrowdale as town is not the right place.
It should also be seen to act professionally for people who want. intimate velvet-roped lounges and rooftop hideaways by fulfilling the advertised events.
If one is promised Jah Prayzah, then Jah Prayzah should be in attendance. The Dreams at old Club Sankayi last Saturday became a nightmare.
And to Ginimbi, I ask: What went wrong?