Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Policing the Continent

Had friends come stay, they were on there way from Kenya. We shared stories of run-ins with police in Africa, they have to be some of the best I have ever heard. There is a certain approach that the authorities here, especially the police take with "muzungu" or "makiwas". (which literally translates white people - interestingly it comes from mzungukaji which means "those who move around" after european and asian traders operating in the 18th century).

There is almost a sense of authority that needs to be stamped right at the beginning, as long a you approach them on an equal footing, showing respect but no sense of sub-serveant (sp) behaviour there is seldom any bad feelings.

What happened to me recently has to go down as a classic tale....after being stopped by the police a young woman officer comes to the window and greets me. In an attempt to make conversation I politely say....."nice day" to which she replies.....

"thats easy for you to say, I am black I absorb the heat"

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