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Kalk Bay Car guards

Davison Mudzingwa/Twenty Ten

Associated feature: Congolese Car Guards (Photo feature)

Location: Kalk Bay, Cape Town

CUE: A group of Democratic Republic of Congo nationals living in Cape Town South Africa has built a reputation of car guards with a difference. So is their record that they are now keeping clients’ car keys to keep the busy parking area running. Davison Mudzingwa reports

FX 1: DIRECTING CAR TO REVERSE 00:10( Play, Dip and Fade Under)

LINK 1: Car guarding is widely regarded as an odd job, not exactly a career one would choose.

FX 2: DIRECTING CAR TO TURN 00:10(Play, Dip and Fade Under)

LINK 2: But a group of Congolese nationals in Cape Town’s socially conservative Kalk Bay area have turned car guarding into a respectable job of choice

Clip 1: KEVIN BAGETA 00:10”
It’s my job, I like it…because it gives me money

LINK 3: Situated between a stunning mountain and an ocean, this fishing community is usually windy—and today is no exception. However 21 year old Kevin Bageta has adapted from the steamy tropics of Kinshasa in DRC to the unpredictable and often freezing weather of Africa’s southern tip. He has one goal in mind.


I want to save and go to university

LINK 4: Bageta moved to South Africa after his parents and siblings in November 2009. Due to a civil strife that has stretched for years in home country, he dropped out of university pursing a Law degree. Now in South Africa, he wishes to study Information Technology and remains hopeful that his average takings of 3000 South African rand a month will be enough to save and finance his education. But it might take longer as he contributes over 1000 rand to the family for rentals and food.


LINK 4: The model of car guarding business here is fundamentally like any other —directing cars to park at free parking area and get tokens of appreciation afterwards. But that’s were the similarities end. On busy days the Congolese guards double or even triple park the cars. They have established a reputation that they now keep keys for their clients to move cars when some customers want to leave.

CLIP 4: ALEX 00:15”

“Noone in Cape Town takes keys except me..nothing happens to the cars”

LINK 5: A regular client here for the past 5 years is seen joking with Alex Ikanga as he drives out. He says he doesn’t worry about his car anymore when he is going about his business.

CLIP 5: CLIENT 00:25”

“They have been working hard, I leave my keys with them, they sort everything out”

LNK 6: Ikanga from the Equator province of DRC turned this once dreaded car park into a safe zone for car owners..

CLIP 5: ALEX 00:10

“They were breaking into cars, stealing…I started working here everyone was happy”

LINK 7: That was ten years ago when Ikanga moved in from his security job to man this car park, central to restaurants and the main road. There was resistance at first. Ikanga was stabbed four times but he was determined to pursue his mission.

CLIP 6: ALEX 00:15”
They stabbed me..and they didn't do it anymore.

LINK 8: The stocky Ikanga reckons his priority of safe cars for clients has sustained him for the past decade.

CLIP7: ALEX 00:10"
I make people happy...I'll do it for this parking

LINK 9: The father of three lives in a decent three bedroomed house in Fish Hoek, a suburb next to Kalk Bay. He is proud that he can support his family through unpredictable proceeds from well-wishers who are happy with his services. But its not always the case that he gets the tips-- sometimes he doesn’t..and he is not bothered.

CLIP 8: ALEX..00:10”

“If I don’t get, its fine, someone will give me more

LINK 10: Ikanga is seemingly content with his work here and the relationship he has with his clients. So as Patou M’pongonekenge, a former civil servant in Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire. He is looking forward to do his work more during the world cup.

CLIP 10: PATOU 0015”
“ I want welcome everyone who will come here for the world cup ..for me it’s a big story of my life”

LINK 11: Patou and his colleagues in Kalk Bay are bracing for more business as South Africa readies for the World soccer cup. As they continue they hope to impact on people’s lives and dispel some prejudices like racism and xenophobia in South Africa.

Davison Mudzingwa—TwentyTen Project Cape Town South Africa.

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