Ethical quandary as fake butt business thrives

What you need to know:

  • Trade in synthetic body parts has become a booming business in Dar es Salaam and other major cities as traders cash in on women’s craving for that curvy appeal

Dar es Salaam. The desire to be appreciated and the girl next door attitude has always driven women and men into extremes.

As a result, trade in synthetic body parts has become a booming business in Dar es Salaam and other major cities as traders cash in on women’s craving for that curvy appeal.

The desire has not spared even those walking down the aisle, guided by what they perceive to be the true definition of beauty of an African woman. It has even got brides hooked to the extent that they seem to be cloned with a mid-section that looks quite identical.

Traders who spoke to The Citizen say the business has gained momentum in the past three years, during which period, some women no longer find it shameful to dupe unsuspecting partners with looks that they actually do not possess.

A survey by The Citizen in various shops in Dar es Salaam has revealed that fake buttocks come in different forms and shapes in accordance with a customer’s needs and ‘beauty’ aspirations.

The first type is for those that increase the size of its wearer’s butts only whereas the second involves those that boost the size of the wearer’s buttocks, hips and tighten the stomach while others are full packages that squeeze the wearer’s breasts to fit her aesthetic aspirations.

There are also fake butts made of fabric and those that are made of silicon. There are butt boosters that can be easily removed while others are made in a way that they are sewn to hug the body so tight.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Famously known as “Vigodoro”, the accessory in the beginning only focused on the butts but with increasing demand came the sophistication that required the industry to cater for other parts of the body such as the hips.

In addition to that, there are others who need a full package, starting with a bra that increases or compresses their breasts, then the hips, and the butts, too.

The type of care varies too. There are some that can be washed and worn again as long. However, silicon can be wiped with a piece of cloth.

The dealers interviewed claimed that brides form their biggest clientele base, followed by those who acquire the accessories for all the different reasons that remain privy to themselves.

Though these accessories come from different parts of the world those that are available on the Tanzanian market are mostly imported from China.

Speaking to The Citizen, Thabith Maloka, a businessman at Kariakoo said he started the business in 2019, and the business was thriving despite lacking societal approval.

 “The business was conducted in high secrecy, we would deliver at their preferred place because most of them were ashamed,” said Maloka

According to him at that time the prices varied between Sh30,000 and Sh50,000 and the demand was high.

 “The business was good then. I could sell up to 60 pieces and sometimes I was required to deliver to other regions, especially Dodoma, Mwanza, and Morogoro.”

According to him by 2021 other traders had discovered the potential that lay in the business with many at Kariakoo venturing into the trade. The influx was not good news because it threatened his monopoly, as a result prices started to drop.

“At that point, I decided to venture into other businesses but that has not stopped the calls from coming, especially those who want to order wholesale. I usually connect them with my colleagues who are still in the business.”

Another seller at Manyema/ Kongo Street, Mr Ruta Bweijama also admits that his client base is mainly made up of brides who seek to impress on their big day with the shoulder season coming in between May and December.

“At the moment I sell silicon and fabric made, silicon is expensive, ranging between Sh400, 000 and Sh600, 000 depending on the type and size, currently customers prefer fabric because of the low prices,” he said. A trader at Mwenge market, Ms Fatuma Ramadhani said her customers who come from Mbagala and Tandika, who wear the products during street festivals.

According to her, towards the Holy Month just before fasting kicks off there are many weddings as so is the demand. She said they can sell up to 50 pieces per day, and the price ranges between Sh15, 000 and Sh30, 000. “Previously, the Chinese used to make originals and the price was high, after realising that the business is good, they started making fakes product which become loose after washing for three days, therefore customers buy depending on their affordability,” she said.

A makeup artist and hairdresser, Ms Charity Mwanga said: “Currently, in many salons, such fake butts are available, and some brides are ashamed to buy them in the market or stores. So when they get here, we advise them.”

She added: Life has changed and the technology has changed, everyone wants to look beautiful, brides are using the opportunity to look attractive and sometimes their fiancées are the ones who convince them to dress like that.

“Some brides come to salon but they don't know about the product, we always advise them and when they wear the dresses they look beautiful. The fake butt business is very popular during the festive season,” she stressed.

On the other hand, a lady who was found at the shop buying the fake butt told The Citizen: “My young sister is getting married this weekend so I came to buy this because I want to wear it myself.”

She said wearing the products is like a woman wearing earrings or any other beauty product, but people treat it differently, some put eyelashes on their eyes, and it has never been an issue, but fake buttocks are the talk of the town.

“I always listen to my heart on whatever I want to wear. I will do it without fearing what others say, so wearing fake butts is not an issue people take it negatively but it's up to them,” she said.

Supported by Bill $ Melinda Gates Foundation