Traffic Chief Kenny Africa opens up about his journey, his kids...and grandkids
Each week Kieno Kammies chats to prominent parents and this week Western Cape Traffic Chief Kenny Africa opens up to Kieno Kammies about family and parenting.
He describes how in the early 1970s, after numerous failed attempts to join the traffic department, he hitchhiked from the small town of Genadendal in the Overberg where he was born and raised, to Cape Town.
He was finally given the opportunity to meet with the recruiters.
Back then I had very long hair and a ponytail and they told me to cut it,..And the next day I went there and didn't cut my hair.Kenny Africa, Traffic Chief - Western Cape
Despite that, he was successful and got admitted to the college to train as a provincial traffic officer.
He said one of the main reasons why we gave you this job was the fact that you didn't cut your hair...and would only cut it when you knew you had the job.Kenny Africa, Traffic Chief - Western Cape
He told them he would never disappoint them and would always strive to make a difference in other people's lives.
His journey during the apartheid era in the traffic department was challenging, he says, and wanted to resign. But the department would not accept his resignation and tore it up.
As coloured officers we never got new vehicles, we always got the second-hand vehicles of our white colleagues.Kenny Africa, Traffic Chief - Western Cape
He says the garage was told to remove the air conditioning and radios before being handed over but got around it by sitting in his white colleague's heated car during the night.
We were also not allowed to arrest a white person. if you got someone under the influence of alcohol. You had to wait for your white colleague.Kenny Africa, Traffic Chief - Western Cape
He says he decided to find a way to bypass this, by using a legal citizen's arrest which made no mention of race.
He married a school teacher from De Doorns in the late 70s called Trudy and by 1979 had two children Henry and Eileen. In 1983 Baby Kenneth was born.
His children grew up and furthered their studies. His daughter lectures at Stellenbosch University and has a PhD and his son is in the police services.
I also lost my eldest son in 2001 in a gruesome motor vehicle crash in Cape Town.Kenny Africa, Traffic Chief - Western Cape
He has three gorgeous grandchildren whom he adores.
They are my everything.Kenny Africa, Traffic Chief - Western Cape
And clearly spoils them...
If they want it you buy it. They just now how to tweak you.Kenny Africa, Traffic Chief - Western Cape
He says he has survived 46 years in Traffic.
Take a listen to Kenny Africa's story below:
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