With the thick smell of burning clutches, tyres screeching and exhaust gases clouding the air, the past weekend saw Windhoek Spin City come to life with the Women Rock Spin Show.
With an all-female deck present Kaylin Oliephant, a 16-year-old spinner from South Africa, entertained spectators with her spinning presence once again. With her daredevil stunts and spinning talents she showed why she is the reigning queen of the spins.
Evanka Moller, 18, is Namibia’s first female spinner. She has been training with her mentor for the last three weeks. Her first show this past weekend was a success as she made everyone around her proud. She is, as they say, a star in the making.
Car spinning in southern Africa goes back to the 1980’s when car thieves would escape into the townships at high speed – partly so that they wouldn’t get caught but also because the spinning and screeching provided an adrenaline rush that became an obsession.
The car of choice has always been the BMW e30 because of its stability and front wheel drive, although other models like Toyota now make it on to the arena as well.
With time, car spinning has grown into a business because a ticket to watch this weekend’s show went for N$100. Spinning is now a celebrated cultural phenomenon and an element of pop culture in many southern African countries, featuring in films and music videos. In fact, spin drivers are considered celebrities.
Many see car spinning as a layer for drug dealers and criminals, even though it was officially recognised as an extreme sport more than 10 years ago. Organizers say car spinning actually deters young people from crime.
“There is no ways we can smoke drugs when we spin – we practise this sport in the presence of SAPS (South Africa Police Service). There are always police whenever we do events and we fight against crime, drugs and anything that is wrong to you and anyone else,” said one organiser.
Car spinning was no doubt then a form of self-expression for many impoverished township youth but has evolved to include all members and classes in society. To help regulate the sport, organisers now insist that drivers are trained and registered before they go into an arena and that emergency medical staff are always present during shows.