Thursday, October 22, 2009
The car guard usually sits on this upturned milk crate. But today he was absent.
UPDATE: From the comments it seems that the ubiquitous car guard is a curiously South African phenomenon. Here is a short explanation. Some car guards are appointed by local businesses to look after cars in streets and parking lots. (We do have a lot of crime, including the more petty kind such as car break-ins and car thefts.) Other car guards (probably most) are self-appointed. Yes, it may be a glorified form of begging, and I am not sure what a car guard will actually do if someone breaks into my car (in most cases, nothing, I suspect, and I do not blame them - why become involved and possibly risk your life for a few measly rand that you may or may not get from the car owner?), but I guess they can act as a deterrent. A little bit like locking your front door when you go out - it makes you feel safer, and prevents a chancer from just walking in and helping himself, but it is of course useless if someone really wants to break into your house. This is my take on it - the car guard feels that he has a job and I feel that I am helping to support someone. It annoys me very much when locals say that car guards should get "proper" jobs - there are very few of those around here. Proper jobs, I mean.