Taiwan Luxury Mega Club Absurdities vs. African Dance Bars

For a small town where locals do not make much money, the small rural Tanzanian town of Iringa, where I reside, is surprisingly not devoid of nightlife spots.

Blaring into the town’s dark main streets on Friday nights are the sounds of American hip-hop mixed with distinctive local Tanzanian pop music. Inside the makeshift shacks that are home to the music, joyfully dancing local live bands and DJs are joined on the dance floor by crowds of both locals and expats (usually white Americans or Europeans), grooving to tunes that are often not found in Western clubs dominated by electronic or house music.

The term “dance floor” here does not imply a special setup with step-up stages or bright lighting. They are concrete-floored open spaces right in front of the band and DJ. The wooden shack nightspots are restaurants that are open until late night and serve alcohol. They play music and clear out a space in their usual dense assortment of dining tables and chairs, allowing enthusiastic diners to let loose. Observing the alcohol-infused euphoria of the dancing crowd, it seems that keeping the place dark and the music loud more than makes up for the lack of sophisticated sound and light systems.