Features

Being Amajimbo at bus stops

DANIEL SIKAZWE, Lusaka
VERY few places in Lusaka have so many lives and meanings like bus stops. One moment, a typical bus stop can look deserted, dead, or forlorn with a handful of young men sitting on a bench or just lumbering around. In no time, the place bursts into exuberant life as a minibus noses in.
The young men on the bench instantly raise their energy levels to dominate the place and make it clear to everyone that it is the place where they live.
For travellers, a bus stop is someplace temporary in nature. For a group of young men who squeeze an existence from buses in transit, a bus stop is a permanent place which represents freedom, refuge and responsibility.
They are the younger men many call callboys or N’gwan’gwazi’s. The boys don’t like any of these names because they say their role in bus stops has evolved from being common hustlers to that of traffic controllers. They reluctantly accept the tag ‘slide-door’ boys because one of their roles is to slum the bus doors when unwelcome buses come in or in some rare cases when buses with ‘tight-fisted’ conductors have overstayed their welcome. The boys answer to the title Amajimbo. CLICK TO READ MORE

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