Mr Azam

azam-ice-creamOne of the friends I can always rely on is Mr Azam, at least that is what I call him.

Come rain or shine, weekdays or weekend, he will pass our road every day.

Usually towards the end of the afternoon or just after sunset and if he feels lucky he will try early afternoon as well.

I’m talking about the ice cream bikes of Azam.

The first sign of his arrival are the vague tones of O Sole Mio, a sort of minimal cheap tape version that has become one of my favourite sounds of the day.

The first sign of his arrival are the vague tones of O Sole Mio, a sort of minimal cheap tape version that has become one of my favourite sounds of the day.

The first sign of his arrival are the vague tones of O Sole Mio, a sort of minimal cheap tape version that has become one of my favourite sounds of the day.

Then one can see the guy coming himself, trudging along with his heavy ice cream bike with Azam produced ice creams in the cooler box.

Here and there he’s being stopped by children who chose their favourite flavour.

Sometimes he will stand in a shady corner waiting for customers to gather around.

But mostly it is the sheer hard work of cycling or pushing this heavy bike over Dar’s roads, in our area mostly dirt roads full of holes or deep sand.

Although there’s a slogan ‘Pedal your way to Profits’, in this place it is first and foremost a tough job.

Founding father and chairman of the Bakhresa Group of Companies (of which Azam is a part) is Said Salim Bakhresa. Together with four sons he runs this imperium that now includes products from basics such as water and flour up to a TV station, petroleum, a football club and a ferry to Zanzibar.

So I suppose he is the real Mr Azam.

But to me it will be always be our ice cream man who is trying to make a living in the hard way and lets me know that an ice cream is never far away!

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About the Author

Josie van den Hoek

Josie first visited Dar es Salaam in 2000 and is still here. She writes about encounters on her daily walks and Tanzanian life.