You will know you have lived in Bulawayo too long when the street kids call you by your Christian name and they are the kids of the street kids you knew as a child !!
'Clever' is my favourite street kid. Clever hangs out in the back of a smart 4x4 truck in Jason Moyo avenue along with a number of other young lads. (I wonder whose car it is, is it their car or do they get free seating in exchange for guarding this rather nice motoring piece )
The other street kids all know that I only deal with Clever and they leave me alone and don't bother me in the least.
Clever lives up to his name, he is innovative, bright and friendly without being pushy. He had the bright idea of 'purloining' a can of black shoe polish and will buff your tyres really nice and black if you let him.
In fact his name should be 'Colgate" because he has a set of dentures a film star would be proud of. No dentist will ever need to go anywhere near Clever's magnificent molars.
Clever does not want to be a street kid, he at least has aspirations unlike some of the others. He would like a permanent job and a little esteem in the community.
Jayjay on the other hand is a confirmed street kid, he likes the buzz of the Bulawayo CBD but he also has a great passion for cricket. Hence his favourite job touting location used to be outside Queens cricket grounds during those halcyon days when we would watch our boys in red hitting sixes and the like around that magnificent venue.
Jayjay would deftly park his clients in nice shady locations and then hop into the back of a strategically parked truck and watch cricket for five magic days.
Jayjay is a direct descendant of the young street kid we all knew way back in the seventies, called Sixpence,
Where Sixpence is now I have no idea but I fear he fell into a crowd with bad habits and went the way of most traditional street kids.
Not all street kids are bad, not all of them sniff glue and drink meths according to the media, some of them deserve a break in life, and there are organisations who are endeavouring thank goodness, to give these lads a second chance.
I was very happy to see one of my favourite Street Kids, Fortune, working as a packer at a supermarket at Ascot shops the other day!
Hopefully I won't have to see Sixpence's grandchildren guarding my car sometime in the years to come and that good fortune will favour these young men.