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.
This, for example, is Harare, Zimbabwe. From above it is basically Tulsa.
Condos, fast food, bad traffic, cute cafes, fratty sports bars.
See? Just a government building. Other than the dudes out front selling fish, this could be anywhere
When you get to the suburbs, though, is when you’re like ‘oh huh this is a hella different country’.
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.
I know we all hate on LA for being pedestrian-unfriendly, but compared to here, it’s Venice.
Without a car, walking through Harare is like reading a book of blank pages.
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.
I never thought of window shopping and personal safety as mutually exclusive, but here, it’s one or the other.