Friday, January 28, 2011


Driving up to traffic light in Lusaka, one will often be accosted by Kaponya (translates to those who run up and down the street!) Kaponya have been around for years. They sell anything from rabbits and fly swatters to dodgy CD’s, DVD’s, unusual underwear, football shirts, caps and games of scrabble…in fact they sell anything that you really do not need at that very moment when the lights go red and you are forced to stop. Whatever you do never catch their eye, even worse never eye up their products, even a mere flick of the eyeball on their wares and you are done for! When you are least in the mood, the sun is at its strongest, hot, sweaty, irritable and in a rush, you let your guard down and catch their eye and then by Jove they are onto you…’ yes my friend very nice perfume, glue, batteries’….’hey just for you, large saggy ‘Y’ fronts’…’yes mister…what about some gospel CD’s’…’ hey Masungu what about my apples/oranges/tomatoes, they are most very freshhhhh’…what about…’I really don’t want your fly no thank you…thank you but no…goodbye…I don’t want any tomatoes’! Now the more you do this the more they come onto you, like mopane flies in the forest, they will never leave you alone. I know them all by name now and wish them good luck and I have made friends with many of them, its a hard life and one must give them respect for the work they do and their perseverance. One man in particular whose name is Lazarus sells the finest fly swatters and football shirts south of the Nile, and always has a smile now matter how hot the weather or hard his life,  I hope that one day he lives the life he dreams, he deserves to do well!  


  1. We have guys who do that in Chicago too! No where near as imaginative with the variety of wares though :)

  2. i love these red light marketeeers - windscreen wipers, bin bags, every type of cell phone adapter, umbrellas with ears- not sure i could resist the rabbits though. but then what?

  3. I used to buy my coathangers from Jacob at the robot. Oh, Africa!