In praise of parking patrols

20 02 2013
Is this the new face of normal in Kaguvi Street?

Is this the new face of normal in Kaguvi Street?

This is the notorious Kaguvi Street in the Kopje area of Harare. Once a street of touts, (well STILL a street of touts but less so) by-the-kerb car repairs, potholes and garbage. I occasionally used to drive up it just for entertainment – just how much of a traffic snarl-up it was or whom was repairing what and how many people wanted to sell me stolen bearings. I was once accused of being a racist because I didn’t want to buy some bearings.

Hello boss.
Hello.
You want some bearings?
No.
But they are very cheap.
No, I don’t need bearings.
But you haven’t hears how cheap they are!
MY CAR DOES NOT NEED BEARINGS.
But these are very good bearings, boss.
Sell them to someone else.
How many bearings do you want?
Fuck off! (Hitting brakes for driver in front stopping to chat to a mate)
You are a racist!
Well then, let’s go and discuss that with the police as racism is illegal in Zimbabwe (and they might be interested in the source of your bearings).

Tout moves off to search for easier prey.

But today it is relatively calm and no-one is doing running repairs and only one tout greets me because he apparently “knows me” but curiously doesn’t know my name. And the reason? Those Day-glo reflective vests in the picture are traffic wardens (there is one right in the centre of the picture). They have portable receipt machines and for $1 you get an hour’s parking and much less traffic that actually flows. The street is still filthy and the potholes are still there but I might actually come back for shopping! Harare City Council got this one right, now let’s see if they can follow through and clean it up.


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