South Africa has what we call ‘car guards’. These are people who supposedly protects your car from being broken into. They also direct you out of the parking bay – whether requested or not. You are then guilt-tripped to part with your hard earned R2-R5 coin. My brother calls this organised begging and feels that paying them for their ‘service’ encourages the practice.
Now, there are certain instances where I have established a cordial relationship with car guards who operate from a vacinity where I frequent. I feel more secure having them keep watch over my car as I go about my business and, let’s be honest; work is hard to come by in these tough economic times and we all could do with a few rands in our pocket.
Returning to my car from the licensing department on Wednesday I noticed that the car guard is a white man – still rare in South Africa with our historic background. I then heard him speak over his mobile in German. I waited until he was done with his conversation to hand over my R2 and ask where he comes from. In articulate English of the highest standard – through missing front teeth – he told me that he is an educated man. He shared some of his story of life being born to German parents in Namibia, living in Germany and his favourite city London. The joys of sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll was his downfall coming over to study in Johannesburg. With a warm smile, he told me that it is the people of South Africa that now keeps him going.