Wall, Street: Walking in African Cities

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For me, ‘Sub-Saharan Africa’ used to conjure up images of thatched huts and dust roads, but in the last few years most of the time I’ve spent here has been in cities.

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This, for example, is Harare, Zimbabwe. From above it is basically Tulsa.

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Condos, fast food, bad traffic, cute cafes, fratty sports bars.

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See? Just a government building. Other than the dudes out front selling fish, this could be anywhere

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When you get to the suburbs, though, is when you’re like ‘oh huh this is a hella different country’.

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Everything is designed for cars, that’s nothing new, but it’s also designed for protection. All the streets look like this: Wall, street, wall. The only variety is whether they are tipped with barbed wire, electric wires or broken glass.

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I know we all hate on LA for being pedestrian-unfriendly, but compared to here, it’s Venice.

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Without a car, walking through Harare is like reading a book of blank pages.

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Whatever might be happening here, it’s doing so behind walls. Restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, apartment buildings, as boring as they look looking in, it’s no better looking out.

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I never thought of window shopping and personal safety as mutually exclusive, but here, it’s one or the other.

2 Comments

Filed under Pictures, Travel

2 responses to “Wall, Street: Walking in African Cities

  1. Love the sad-looking walking guy in the last picture.

  2. “Hella.” Heyyy Pacific Northwest.

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