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Glenda Kemp

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Name  Glenda Kemp

Movies  Snake Dancer
On the upper left is Glenda Kemp and a snake while on the upper right is naked Glenda Kemp and on the bottom part is old Glenda Kemp with a snake coiled on her body

Glenda Kemp (born 1949) is a South African stripper, activist, and teacher.


Glenda Kemp

Early life

Glenda Kemp Glenda Kemp

Glenda Kemp was born in the Cape Province on 13 May 1949. As a young girl she lived in the working class suburb of La Rochelle, Johannesburg26.23926°S 28.05546°E / -26.23926; 28.05546 with her mother, stepfather and new baby brother, her two older siblings were in an orphanage in Potchefstroom, she was later to be sent to the orphanage too. Glenda was adopted by Tannie and Oom Baumbach into their Christian home in the small farming town of Swartruggens

Young adulthood

In 1969 Glenda enrolled into the Teachers' Training College in Potchefstroom. It was here she discovered dancing and her skill that would be appreciated, as well as detested by many in the future.

Nothing else mattered when I was dancing. I lived for the music and the words and wanted to share this with whoever was looking at me...the main reason I took more dancing work was because of the satisfaction it was giving me in escaping my circumstances.

She later transferred to the Goudstad Teachers' Training College in Johannesburg to continue dancing in Go-go dancing clubs.


It was during the conservative 1970s, that Glenda began stripping with "Oupa", her pet python. Her scandalous actions and her provocative moves caused the Vice Squad to do their best to stop her, without success. The newspaper Rapport tagged her "Newsmaker of the Year". She was arrested on numerous occasions and charged with public indecency. Faced with barricades of Christian wives on one side and loyal fans and liberals on the other, Glenda never gave up, but continued to provoke the attention of the public.

No one expected me to change my identity, and dance as a black woman on a white stage in the midst of apartheid laws. I was going around and kicking up dust

Dirk De Villiers made Snake Dancer, giving Glenda the opportunity to tell her story in a full-length movie. The film was not well received by the South African public. Glenda planned to leave her snake and dancing behind and follow a teaching career. Her notoriety resulted in many rejections at interviews for teaching positions. She then travelled to London to continue her dancing career there. She worked for Paul Raymond (publisher) in the Raymond Revuebar and at the Windmill Theatre. She also became a relief house mother at Epworth Children's Home.

Later life

In the 1980s Glenda put her dancing career behind her, moved back to South Africa, started a family with her husband, and completed her teacher training and became a teacher. She returned to the Christian faith of her early teen years and began a lay ministry to children and to the vulnerable people of society including prostitutes and drug addicts. She now lives in Durban in retirement.

  • Snake Dancer, a feature-length movie of her early life was made in 1976 by Dirk de Villiers
  • Bladsy 3 (Page 3), a play in Afrikaans had a run at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in January 2014
  • Dances with Snakes, a half-hour TV documentary of her life was made in 1996 and shown on the SABC 3 TV channel.
  • Glenda Kemp, a single by af:Spoegwolf was released on 21 March 2014.
  • References

    Glenda Kemp Wikipedia