A Kenyan driver’s view of the Germans

A reporter of the Spiegel Online living in Nairobi interviewed Samuel a taxi driver in Kenya on his view of the Germans.

Samuel used to work for a bank once, but lost his job during one of the major crises of the 2000s, now he drives a taxi to earn a living.

He respects the Germans for their Engineering legacy and the great cars they produce. He used to own a VW Golf once, but had to give it up due to the cost of maintenance. German cars are great quality, they last long but their spare parts are hardly available locally and they cost an arm and a leg. He would rather pay for a small maintenance every 2000km than a huge expensive one after every 15000km.

Samuel like most Kenyans doesn’t know much about Germany, other than their football prowess and the Schwebebahn in Wuppertal that he would love to see someday though he got to experience the new found German patriotism during the Europe Cup 2012 when some Germans in Kenya were driving around with their flags on their cars and even one of his clients had the German flag painted on their nails.

Apparently he only drives white clients, because they pay much better than the kawaida Wanjiku and they are safer. He was hijacked once and since then he never picks up strange Africans on the road, but he does pick up whites.

(I’m shocked that someone can actually tell this out proudly, what??? And when you get to this end, German taxi drivers don’t trust African strangers either…..woooiii. Moving on swiftly to the rest of the story)

Although, he loves white clients, he prefers the Americans to the Germans as they give more and larger tips. Most taxi drivers would prefer to let a German client pass and instead wait for a Briton or an American client.

Samuel thinks the Germans are racists. According to one of his cousins that lives in Berlin, some of the  attendants at restaurants and businesses have been known to make snide remarks or even leave foreign (read African) clients hanging when asked to help.

He thinks Germans can be very impatient. With the Matatus, the traffic jams and the cars on the wrong lane on the super highway in Nairobi; one needs a lot of patience to get through it. One day Samuel was driving a German client when they met a matatu driving towards them on the wrong lane; the German got so angry he opened his window and showed the middle finger to the Matatu driver. This shocked Samuel to bits. Samuel is more patient though and continues to drive the writer of this article even though he is a German.

Original written by Horand Knaup on Spiegel Online here.

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