Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
IF ever there is a time that gives people carte blanche to do just about anything in the name of luxuriating, it is the festive season.
Part of that “anything” includes ticking things off their bucket list which may include your everyday activities right down to the ultimate extremes.
I know “extreme” is subjective, but I know that you and I can concur that bungee jumping belongs to that class.
Normally, a bucket list consists of things that give one an adrenaline rush and it comes with a huge exercise for your wallet and fits right into the bill of December, the month of festivities.
The thrill of watching one’s favourite artiste on stage provides an impetus on one to start saving as early as January and eventually spend as if there won’t be another January, sometimes on the bucket list.
For example, last month hundreds of people thronged the BAC
Leisure spot for one of South Africa’s nascent Amapiano talents Boohle while others had a hard time choosing between the Yano Movement and hip-hop as Mr Okay, Takura became hip-hop royalty at Club Hashtag spitting bars, metaphors and rhymes.
If this is a teaser for what is to come for December, then patrons are in for a sumptuous festive season as this month will bring out the big guns in the form of the red-hot Venda queen Makhadzi, Amacriminal record singers Blaq Diamond and those who make us mingle with the decks and the navy-blue-uniformed cadres of the Republic (pun intended) Kabza de Small and DJ Maphorisa.
In all of this, there is one common suspect, the 4 or 6-armed revealer of the hidden mental and spiritual mysteries, a huff and a puff will surely blow your house down. Ladies and gentleman, introducing from the streets of Kolkata, India, the shisha also known as hubbly.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of this smokey pipe, it only makes sense to give a short profile of what it is all about.
Some media outlets say that the shisha or hookah is a water pipe that is used to smoke tobacco.
A special type of tobacco is indirectly heated using coal or wood embers. Hookah is also known as shisha, sheesha, narghile, argileh, goza, and hubbly-bubbly.
The tobacco used in a hookah is called shisha or maassel. Shisha is a sticky mixture of tobacco, honey or molasses, and other flavourings. It is available in many flavourings such as bubble gum, peanut butter, mango, grape and mint.
So what makes the shisha pipe so high in the pecking order of most revellers? Remember, this is the very item that you see people drowning on irrespective of the time and place that they are in. Be it music videos or under the disco lights of leisure spots where a group of people share the merriment.
There was only one way for Saturday Leisure to find out and that was by asking people.
Nqobile Lunga from Nketa 9 declared his undying love for shisha saying it makes him “calm down and enjoy after a hard week at work.”
“For me, the shisha pipe is freedom. Freedom from fatigue as I work in a construction site where relaxation is something we can’t afford. The inhaling of that smoke is pure bliss to me and I can’t go for a long time without it.”
The general consensus as to why people smoke shisha centred on it being “cool and classy” sentiments shared by one Portia Bhebhe who resides in Selbourne Park.
“I’d be lying if I say that there’s something closer to the truth than the hubbly being classy and cool. This is one for the elite and who doesn’t want to associate themselves with those at the top end of life?
“I surely do smoke shisha so as to look cool and sophisticated. Also, the aroma is irresistible and delicious so who am I to say no to enjoyment?” said Portia.
Bruce Tamborinyoka from Sunninghill described himself as a chain-smoker and there was only one way out if he was to quit smoking cigarettes. Bruce was “caught in the act” smoking shisha at a local nightspot and when asked about it, he said it helps him to gradually quit smoking.
So how does one quit smoking by smoking? Bruce had a ready answer for that.
“I’m trying to quit another more harmful addiction buddy, smoking cigarettes. If I’m to win this battle, I will have to gradually reduce the number of cigarettes, and then give up the shisha. It’s all about the gradual abandonment of the previous level of nicotine and replacement of cigarette smoke with the hubbly-bubbly.”
Bruce is indeed a “chain-smoker” since, during the duration of the interview, his mouth resembled Mosi-Oa-Tunya, the smoke that thunders. He was glued to the pipe all the time.
Memory Mativenga from Cowdray Park said the shisha pipe tightens their clique as she and her friends always meet for drinks on the weekend. It is a pleasant pastime for her in the company of friends.
“My friends and I usually hit the club to unwind and shisha is one of the main reasons we assemble at our favourite spot.
It’s the in-thing nowadays and we want to be as current as we can possibly be. So to us, shisha brings unity and that is why we value it this much. To us, it’s a harmless hobby,” the lass told Saturday Leisure.
Amid this flurry of merriment with the shisha pie, is there a down south to it?
Acting chief executive officer of Mpilo Central Hospital, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya was of the idea that such kind of enjoyment has medical problems to anticipate later on in life.
“Smoking the shisha pipe is addictive and makes people spend a lot of valuable time on it. It has the potency to cause respiratory problems and as such, I do not condone smoking it,” is how the medical expert would weigh in on the medical problems associated with the smoking of shisha.
When quizzed on how long it can take for one to damage their body, Prof Solwayo said that the pipe can cause acute asthmatic attack even on the first time indulging it. Complementary to the asthmatic attacks, chronic coughs can be the end result and eventually, death.
Death is a scary prospect in life and to think that even smoking “boiled water” can be fatal, gives the chills. December is a time to have fun, responsible fun though as we enjoy food, music and most-importantly value life.
Why do you smoke shisha?
Let’s keep the conversation going on my WhatsApp number +263 77 733 7776, email address [email protected] and Twitter @eMKlass_49.