via Bulawayo24 NEWS | ‘Legalise shebeens,’ says Minister 24 June 2014 by Staff reporter
A shebeen is an informal, unlicensed establishment or a private house selling alcohol but typically regarded as slightly disreputable. They were popular in Zimbabwe, both before and after independence.
In an interview on the sidelines of the Routes Africa Summit in Victoria Falls, Tourism and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi said his ministry was in the process of lobbying for legalisation of shebeens in a bid to attract tourists into townships.
“As part of ZimAsset, we are working on bringing back shebeens to the townships to provide entertainment and employment opportunities to our people, that is what value addition and beneficiation is all about.
“Tourists have also been confined to resort areas where a few people have continued to benefit, but we are saying our people in the townships can also benefit by attracting tourists with an upgraded shebeen concept,” said Mzembi.
Governments of Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana banned shebeens after they were said to be promoting vice, especially prostitution but the initial bans were instituted by the colonial governments who sought to crack down on what they termed insurgency gatherings.
Mzembi said shebeen owners would go through the normal procedures of business licencing and applicants would be required to have minimal standard infrastructure.
“Applicants of shebeen licences should have infrastructure that will meet the general standards of a public place, including a proper toilet, so people must start building up towards this development,” said Mzembi.
South Africa’s national rugby team, the Springboks, is also popular in Soweto’s shebeens as a way of promoting domestic tourism.