Is this a nightclub or a carnival sideshow?

Rebecca Jacobson
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After 3 a.m., when everything in Blantyre has closed, there’s one place to go: Chez Ntemba. Though entry tickets call it an “international dancing club,” the establishment is more carnival funhouse than discotheque. From the warped checkerboard floor to the wildly distorting mirrors covering all the walls, you’ll think you’re a few deep even if you haven’t had a sip. The miniskirt ban was lifted in 1994, but it seems they’re still rebelling here. From the upper level, you can watch dancers watching themselves in the mirror — very meta. Down below, in a room with one narrow door and no windows (read: the city’s worst fire hazard), you can dance to Baja Men, 50 Cent, and Malawian reggae until the sun comes up. Not that you'll see it rise.


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