|The inconvenience of owning a car|
|Saturday, 21 July 2012 00:00|
Widely perceived as a mark of success and believed to unlock a whole world of convenience, owning a car in most African communities is not as rosy. It’s a pathway to ruin.The four-wheeled monster, usually propelled by an internal combustion engine, spawns hatred, witchcraft and all the bad things anyone may think of under the sun.
If the car is not mechanically sound, it may shake your marriage owing to the relentless need for repairs against the backdrop of skyrocketing prices of spare parts and other consumables.
School fees will be calling shots from one end and the car from the other, leaving women and children demanding to know what comes first — them or the car.
“Haa . . . vasikana zvakaoma! Kungobva paakatenga mota nzara yapfunya chisero mumba. We no longer have time with him as he is now always busy with the mechanics and this new business of buying spare parts.
“Zvikaramba zvakadaro zviri nani arare nemota yake,” you hear women saying while doing their laundry on the banks of Mukuvisi River in Mbare.
And the cries are replicated in almost every other suburb. Glen Norah, Waterfalls, Highfield, Mufakose, Kambuzuma, Kuwadzana, DZ, Warren Park, Glen View, Mabvuku and Chitungwiza are awash with the same tales. In leafy suburbs women are also crying foul.
In rural areas, the moment you buy a car you should always ensure the chief sits in front. And your mother must always have good ploughshares, because each time she asks for help, she will be told off.
“Iwe kachembere . . . wadini kurima nemota dzevana vako. Kusiya vana vachitenga mota idzo mombe dzizere. Futi muri kudiwa kwaMambo. Mwana wenyu akanaisa mambo nemvura nengorovhani yake,” villagers will say, forgetting that the same car will assist them whenever calamity strikes.
Women sob endlessly the moment their husband acquires a car. Put accidents and death aside.
At times there are freak accidents that come with the excitement of being a motorist. These often manifest themselves through cracked tail lights, broken corner lamps and a deformed fender.
“Pane murume akangondirovera achibva atiza. The way some people drive is just bad,” you hear new motorists saying to cover up for their inexperience and outright failure to manoeuvre in a traffic jungle like Harare.
The moment a man buys a car, women flock to him like wasps following a glimmer of light. The new acquisition actually adds to the sweetness of a man which is not judged by looks, but by a fat wallet, a trendy cellphone and a car.
Mwana wenyu andiramba,
Ndoita sei kuti andide?
Ndichatenga mota, auye ega,
Ndichatenga mota kuti andide, sang the godfather of creativity Safirio Madzikatire, who was popularly known as Mukadota. And true to his view, there is an unexplained chemistry between women and cars.
Kungonzwa munhuwi wepeturu, madzimai anobva apenga. Rich men so ugly like a heap of poop splattered about by a wire are more likely to plant kisses on the most beautiful of lips under the world than their handsome neighbours who go on foot.
Anotimba netsoka anoshupika kuwana rudo mukurarama kwanhasi. A car creates so many friends than you need. There are countless men and women out there who feel adequate the moment they find a cheap car with which to hop from one beerhall to the other.
And these people will buy the motorist copious amounts of beer as if they want to drown him in it so that he least applies reason whenever he is supposed to.
This they do so they can travel to faraway places without hindrance.
“Uya munhu haanetse. Unongotenga doro chete and hapana chaanoramba. Tenga musodzi waQueen umupe anwe tobva tangotamba yakanunira,” I heard certain blokes saying of their friend.
But if the car breaks down out of town, the same guys will abandon you and start hitching lifts to rush to the next point as early as possible.
Fuel is also a major challenge.
People who want to be taken around in a car seemingly forget that a car does not run on beer. They will never approach you if you demand that they fuel the car before every beer-drinking spree.
At a family level, owning a car is not without its own challenges. The car may be taken on a joyride by your blood brother or wife’s relatives and all you get at the end of the ordeal is: “Sorry, mukuwasha zvinowanikwa mukurarama.”
A car will make most relatives come close.
You become the first person to be advised of a funeral all because of the need to enjoy free transport from point A to B.
At times your house becomes almost like a transit point as men and women come in droves to be driven to the rural areas, to town and work.
If you are not bold, some relatives will take you for a ride. They can fill up your vehicle without leaving any space for your wife and children and the moment you complain, you are accused of being proud.
“Anoda kushaina nemota yebasa. Haazivi kuti zvepasi rino zvinopera,” they will say behind your back.
Weddings too can be a problem for motorists.
People will come up with all sorts of transport plans which they will only advise you of on the wedding day, making it difficult to be closer your family.
Gentle reader, being a motorist looks like a success curve but it can be ruinous if not handled with care.