Bwana Kisu

Another amazing profession here is that of the knife grinder.

Once this businessman is spotted on the roads nearby, wananchi — mostly the ladies — will bring out their blunt knives and gather around.

His bicycle is his business, so apart from sharpening knives he also carries a wide assortment of knives for sale, which stick out of a selfmade knife block on the back seat of his bicycle.

In the meantime, Bwana Kisu sets his bicycle in a stable position, takes a seat and starts cycling backwards, turning his grindstone and getting his work done. Photo: Flickr/Hagengraf CC BY 2.0

One of his strategic positions is the local butcher shop down the road. Seeing the huge portions of meat hanging in the open window one can imagine sharp knives are badly needed to reduce these to sizeable portions for customers during the day.

Bwana Kahawa also passes and posts his business in front of the shop.

With the coffee, the men arrive as well and while the ladies stand around waiting for their knives, the men on a low wall drinking small cups of strong hot coffee.

As always there will be plenty of talking.

A favourite topic is the weekend football matches, especially if Simba and Yanga meet it seems the heat is on and everyone has their views and assessments.

Otherwise there is always the Premier League, which traditionally has a big attraction in Tanzania.

Another issue providing leads for conversation are politics; these days there are plenty of announcements by the President or actions by politicians that generate lively discussions.

In the meantime, Bwana Kisu sets his bicycle in a stable position, takes a seat and starts cycling backwards, turning his grindstone and getting his work done.

Report a typo: highlight the text in question and press Ctrl+Enter to report.

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.