By Charmel Bowman

Dancing sensuously on a dimly lit stage with pet python Oupa wrapped around her lithe body, Glenda Kemp was, in her heyday, South Africa's most infamous stripper.

For many, her name alone still conjures up a series of sexy images, of the erotic and sensual.

But for Kemp, now 60, that life is long behind her as she lives in a quiet Durban suburb with her second husband.

Her only daughter is studying in London.

Now a committed Christian, Kemp says she is opposed to plans to legalise the sex industry.

"I am totally against the plans to legalise the sex industry for the World Cup. There are so many other things on offer in our wonderful city, why do people need sex to be entertained?" she asked.

"We have beautiful beaches and are surrounded by nature with many wonderful restaurants - I don't know why everything has to be about sex."

Though she was involved in the periphery of the sex industry for many years, she feels that putting women on tables as a form of entertainment is simply "not right".


"I don't want to judge anyone, as I was in their shoes at one stage, but you have to ask where are these women going to be in the next five or 10 years? They can't do this forever. What happens to them then?"

She is also concerned about the example the pursuit of the carnal sets for the younger generation.

"Indulging in physical pleasure at whim does not set a good example for the future generation," Kemp said. "We need our leaders to start setting the right example for the youth."

Kemp, a born-again Christian, said her life had changed dramatically for the better.

Though she regrets the decisions she made that led to her becoming a stripper, she believes she learnt from the experience.

"When you give your life to Christ your past doesn't simply disappear, but you look forward to what the future holds.

"If I had to do it over, I wouldn't make the same choices, knowing what I know now - that there are consequences for every decision made. You will reap what you sow in life."

She decided to leave stripping when she fell pregnant with her daughter more than 25 years ago.

"I was married and pregnant and decided it was time to leave the profession. I didn't want to still be performing looking like something that the cat dragged in.

"I didn't leave for religious reasons at that stage, I just felt that my time was up to be a stripper."

She gave her "life to the Lord" after leaving the industry and it is not a decision that she regrets.


"Things have really been put into perspective for me... what matters most when you are on your deathbed, not the things of the world. Thinking about life after death makes you think hard about the choices you make in life," she said.

"I am a new person in Christ. Glenda Kemp the stripper is gone and she is no more."

Talking about sex is not a shameful thing, Kemp believes. She said it was created for a husband and wife to share and enjoy.

"Whatever you would like to do with regard to sex, do it as a couple.

"There can be so much pleasure between a man and a wife, there is no need to visit a prostitute or a strip club. You leave feeling just as empty as when you entered if you decide to go to such places."

Her main concern is the women involved in the sex industry and their future.

"The girls were not created for this. I want to encourage them to get out, to lead a better life," Kemp said.

She said she always saw herself as an "artist" during her stripping years.

"You always try to justify what you are doing, when you know it is not right.

"I always told myself I was an artist of sorts, probably to make myself feel better," she said with a laugh.

"I am glad that I left when I did and am thankful for the personal relationship I have now with God through Jesus Christ."

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