Let Me Explain: The Fast and The Furious
It’s sad that these other kids around the ghetto think that they are gangsters. Once one has a star of weed and a cigarette on their ears, they think the world exists beneath them. Requesting us to fear them and leave a few measly bond coins as tithe every time we pass their chill spot. Well, these kids know who the baddest in H-Town are. The rough and tough, vulgar vomiting, pill-popping, unruly and savage touts of Harare’s Mshika-Shika. Let Me Explain.
Toxic gases fill the atmosphere, evidence of a failing exhaust system. Yet someone in this smoke covered corner in the CBD screams, “Vape moyo!”(rev the car). Over five Kombis are lining up at the corner of Robert Mugabe and Angwa Street. It’s a rowdy setup. People are jumping into the kombi at a deathly pace. At every door of the kombis is a tout filtering the passengers. On the lookout for plainclothes policemen who might ‘impoun d’ his car, only to release it ten minutes later when their hands are greased with those green notes the RBZ claim to be a currency. It’s a war!
There are a couple of police people in uniforms nearby. In fact, they are in riot gear, but something is amiss with their outfit. Instead of having the traditional baton sticks, each police officer has a short spike row. These seem to have turned into the new baton sticks in all traffic sections. The city council is also on the prowl with their trucks. The drivers of these kombis are fearless. Not more than 25 years of age but already a menace to the cops. The speeds at which they travel in town are just outrageous. As the mshika shika is not a proper rank, the kombis have to constantly be on the move. Engines kept at high revs to ensure a quick takeoff if the need to dash arises.
It’s a tense atmosphere, with insults being hurled at commuters who take their time to board the kombis. It’s a game of death, a lot of people are knocked down when the spikes strike. A small bead of sweat settles on my nose. It’s cold but I have been running a lot today, I’m exhausted. I nervously shift my spike to my left arm. I’m shit scared of these guys, but the new job pays well. Welcome to the City of Harare, Traffic Management Department!