- Published on Sunday, 29 April 2012 02:55
- Written by AMBY LUSEKELO
- Hits: 1644
There is a new breed of mafia in Dar es Salaam. They are shockingly young but, very aggressive. These young people have mastered the art of suspense. They will walk pass you fast, keeping their eyes in front of them at all times, looking straight ahead, but never at you.
This throws you off because you think and hope they can’t see you and you have escaped them. Just as they walk past you, they jump on your car windscreen and furiously wipe it down using a soapy sponge emerging from water that looks extremely questionable. They lift your windscreen wipers should you attempt to stop them.
I call them Mafioso because of the way they conduct their business. They move in packs of 2 or 3 but the boss can often be found alone. The boss is the aggressive one, using all tactics to ensure he forcibly wipes your windscreen down, and then knocks on your car windows asking for cash. You can’t stop him by furiously waving your hand gesturing him to stop. That only works for the ones who move in packs.
However, once they stop washing your car, they will lean against your car peeking into it. They will look into your car for as long as it takes to either win some sympathy, so you throw a shilling or two, or until they spot their next windscreen. These Mafiosos can be found around Dar es Salaam, Morocco at the traffic light junction of Ali Hassan Mwinyi and New and Old Bagamoyo Road.
They are also at the Ubungo traffic lights. I believe the Ubungo Mafioso is very high up the food chain compared to the rest. I once saw this guy wipe down a windscreen then get on top of the hood of the car and laid there waiting for his payment. The look on the driver’s face as he searched himself for spear change was priceless.
Many unsuspecting commuters have found their windscreen being forcibly wiped down. And the worst thing is that you are stuck there, with nowhere to run, as all the cars are bumper to bumper. Often you are the subject of amusement from other cars. Daladalas passengers are usually the most entertained as they look on as the Mafiosos are at work. Female drivers are the ones who get the most attention.
Something about a lady waving her perfectly manicured little hands that is not quite threatening and in fact quite ticklish. I remember my dad used to always drive around with a Baseball bat. I could never understand why until that eventful day when we were mobbed by hawkers selling everything from handkerchiefs to peanuts. He whipped it out and they all disappeared.
I never wished for a Baseball bat more than when I was surrounded by 2 Mafioso who as they were forcibly wiping down my windscreen, broke my wipers to stop me. My girlfriend is currently online, goggling to see if the Japanese or Koreans have invented wipers that bite or at least growl real loud or even produce machine gun noises at the touch of a button.