City car washers sing the blues


UNEMPLOYMENT has pushed hundreds of youths, including many that have impressive academic education, into various informal self-help projects as a means to eke out a living.

Feluna Nleya,Staff Reporter

The car-washing business is one of many forms of business that the unemployed have taken to.

However, the laws governing most of the projects that the desperate youths have resulted in them engaging in endless battles with law enforcement agents.

Of particular note are car washers in most urban areas that are in constant running battles with municipal police that have made it difficult for them to operate.

Illegal car washers yesterday told NewsDay in interviews in Harare that before the police decided to clamp down on their operations, they used to make a lot of money.

Kenneth Mavimba, who has been washing cars for the past three years, said as a result of the council clampdown, people were now afraid to have their vehicles washed at undesignated places as they risked having them clamped.

Mavimba said after failing to secure a formal job, he decided to work in the informal sector where he could make money to take care of himself and his family.

“I have a wife and a child that I need to feed,” Mavimba said. “So since I could not find a job, I decided to do this car-washing business and for some time, it has been good. Problems started when council started to clamp cars and also arrest us if they found us washing cars on the streets.

“People do not bring their cars here anymore because of the city council officials. We used to wash about 10 cars per person per day, but because of the council it’s very difficult to get so many cars. I used to take home around $20 a day, but now I would be very lucky to take home $10,” Mavimba said.

Mavimba stays in Chitungwiza where he pays $50 in rentals.

The car washers said they charged between $2 and $4 per vehicle, depending on the type and size.

“It is now difficult to even pay rent. I now often pay rent as late as the 10th or even pay it in bits and pieces so that the landlord does not chase me away,” he said.

Tawanda Manyozo, who is also an illegal car washer, said it was now difficult for them and appealed to the council officials to help them.

“Washing of the cars is now by sheer luck because people no longer bring their cars here to be washed,” said Manyozo who operates along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue in Harare.

“We used to make between $15-$20 a day, but nowadays if you get $2 a day you would have worked really hard. I pay $30 a month for the room I rent with my wife and two children.”

“I think what the council officials should do is at least charge us, say a dollar a day for us to conduct our business than to completely stop our business,” said Manyozo.

“Or they can find us a place to go and wash the cars. We have looked for jobs, but we can’t get any because it’s all about nepotism — who you know. It’s best they let us continue with our work than to ban us.

“What we are doing is better than stealing from people. If we don’t fend for ourselves and get money, we will end up stealing from them when they go home.”

Harare City Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi could not be reached for comment as his mobile number rang unanswered.


  1. eh eh eh eh BHORA MUGEDHI VAKOMANA NYARARAI HENYU BHORA MUGEDHI.ndoo maculprts akavhotera msangano nhasi vochema hanty mava ma-employer mese mese nyika yese maemployer saka unochemei munhu ari empowered nxaaa…tibvire apoo inda unoisa zvitinha munzira dzine makomba ma-motorist anokupa ma$ $ ndo rimwe basa re empowerment iroro. Unot zanu payaiti inoda kuwanisa mayouth basa yaireva rimwe ripi kunze kwairoro….shanda nezviripo wakati nyika ndeye ropa no nid fo good jobs bt zvesimba nezhara ndozvenyu…BHORA TSVAGAI KWARIRI NOW MURIKAVIRE ZVEE MUGEDHIII

  2. Guys here in Africa black people suffer under their Brothers & Sisters with same race. bhora mugedhi chete mwana wamai.

  3. Wezhira wataura chokwadi ndiwo mayouth ezanu pf vanoshandiswa kurova nekuponda vanhu saka vanochemera ani,to hell with them ndo indigenization yemuZim isina kurongeka for past 13 years kuchema chete,minda makatora asi nzara haiperi,industry makatora unemployment rate is the highest in the world not talking of corruption……bhora mugedhi..kkkkkkkk

  4. vakomana musatiseke muchiti bhora mugedhe,takavimbiswa mari dzemaprojects anosanganisira carwash takazongoshamiswa vaChinamasa,pabajeti ya2014,vasina kanakutaura nezvedu,ukuwo kanzuru dzotionesa moto,kuChitungwiza kwatinogara, Chigumba worse,tiri kuvata pachena, Mvura ikuya……inongoita pamadiro zuva rikapisa……..rinongopisa pamadiro chando chikauya……..haiwavo chongoita pamadiro,chokwadi usu tichiri vanhuwo sevamwe here ?mwari pindirayi toona moto

  5. I think these youngsters have genuine grievances. All they need to do is secure a legal place so that they wash the cars without obstruction of traffic. Council is not the enemy here because order has to be maintained on the streets. I don’t think it is proper to mock these youngsters and call them names all in the name of politics. Go talk to City Council authorities and if you already have a niche in the market in the form of clients whose cars you washed satisfactorily, then you are already in business. Kutuka vana muchingoti chese bhora mugedhe hazvivapi mari yekubhadhara rent nekutengera vana chingwa. Batsirai vechidiki ava please.

  6. ” we used to make $20 a day” do the math..thats 600 a month!! kana director ku Civil Service isnt getting that much! VaMugabe vakataura, arikuda minda ngaauye timuoe aende korima..but no, instead they chose to wash cars for a living…and not pay taxes on top of that…They should be serious. nxa

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