Car Culture

Botswana has recieved press and academic attention from is success of moving from a low income country to a medium income country, espeically considering its geographical position in Southern central Africa.  While the offical poverty rate is still between 30-40% there are thousands of people each year coming into wealth (the new money) or people relocating here from elsewhere (the old money).  Due to the immigration/emmigration to the capital of Gaborone it is difficult to find anyone who was born and raised here.  The population of the city grows from 250,000 to 280,000 during the day according to K.C. Jain, the city engineer. 

So with all this new and old money coming in to the capital every day cars have become quite the what-to-do.  People are doing their best to keep up with the Joneses and their new car purchases.  The popular cars with the professional crowd are Mercedes, BMW, and Audi.  For college kids or my peers VW is more affordable, but most still want to get into an upper end German machine.  So infrastructure has had a difficult time keeping up with the increasing road use, and morning commutes are gettling measurably longer every few months. 

In addition to a straining, but not yet broken, infrastructure is the need to educate drivers.  Enter the impromptu outdoor driving school:

The cones mark the path for the students to drive.  The "office" is those chairs under the tree in the shade.

The cones mark the path for the students to drive. The office is the chairs under the tree in the shade.

These can be found within walking distance of most locations in Gaborone.  They are set up next to a soccar field, an empty lot, or just in the bush.  The cars are provided by the teachers, who wait around for clients to seek them out in their office.  Here is another example:This is across the street from the University of Botswana, and a 10 minute walk from the other driving school pictured above.

 

Those billboards are advertising Coke and Mascom, a cell phone provider here.  I saw a Clear Channel billboard the other day.

Those billboards are advertising Coke and Mascom, a cell phone provider here. I saw a Clear Channel billboard the other day.

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3 responses to “Car Culture

  1. Clear channel in Botswana, wow, and just when you thought you could get away from Kid Kraddick in the morning…

  2. cheri mwen,

    m’sonje ou.

  3. fuck clear channel.

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