Bringing a sparkle to car lights in F/Town
With jobs scarce and unemployment depressingly high, locals are increasingly forced to rely on their own resources to survive.
This week, CHRISTINAH MOTLHABANE caught up with several men who patiently marshal the car-parks of Francistown, waiting – sometimes in vain – for customers with car lights in need of a sparkle. These are the glazers of Ghetto…
If you want your car to stand out from a crowd, do not hesitate to come to Mangole a leswe [complex opposite Jumbo, where The Voice’s Francistown office is located] for a shine.
This is my 4th year doing this job.
When I was young I wanted to be self-employed and after realizing that there are no jobs, I asked myself what I can do?
I met with someone who introduced me to glazing car lights.
After he taught me, I looked for a spot and started shining people’s cars.
It is a good trade even though sometimes we face challenges of lack of business.
I plead with those with car businesses to always give us tenders.
I may not have gone to school for it, but I do the perfect job!
I was not working and after I saw other people doing the glazing I developed an interest.
I then went around looking for the equipment to use and I found them at Haskins.
It is not a bad business as I can pay my bills and live a normal life.
On a busy day I make up to P700; even when business is slow I still go home with about P150 in my pocket.
Sometimes I negotiate on the prices with customers.
For example, shining the whole car, so front and rear lights are normally P150 but occasionally I charge less when the customer does not have money.
It is not an easy job; you have to be prepared for abuse as some people become angry and rude when we approach them.
But that cannot stop me from doing what I love!
I am the person who introduced this business in Francistown 14 years ago!
Back in 2003, I was working in a garage.
After gaining enough experience I left the job in 2007 to start glazing cars around Choppies.
Now I am based here in Galo Mall.
Business is not going that well, to be honest as Batswana does not have money.
I won’t blame it on Covid either because even before the pandemic they did not have money; unemployment is so high, what do you expect!
Some days I come here and leave without glazing a single car!
At first, I was selling spray, which I ordered from South Africa, for polishing cars.
After I stopped, I started cleaning and shining car lights.
Being self-employed is hard, it requires patience because you can end up leaving the job when business is low.
However, it is better than staying at home doing nothing.
I encourage those staying at home not to give up but rather think of something to do for a living.
I was working in a car wash at Selibe Phikwe in 2015 and that is where I learned of shining and glazing cars.
I then decided to do it myself rather than to work for someone else.
It’s not much but the little I make is enough to sustain me.
I can take care of myself, as in food, clothing, and shelter from shining cars.
Yes, we are many here at Galo Mall doing the same business [Voice Money counted 11!] but the way we do our jobs and approach the customers is different, so that is the trick.