Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa leaves a legacy of safety
Cape Town - After dedicating 46 years to improving road safety, Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa is handing in his badge.
Africa, who retires today, said the death of his eldest son Henry in a car accident inspired him to try and curb the carnage on the city’s roads.
“When this happened to our family I was just motivated to go out and do better, to go out and save other moms and dads’ sons and daughters out there,” he added.
Growing up, Africa said he wanted to become a lawyer but after seeing a traffic officer neatly dressed and driving a blue-lit vehicle, “everything changed”.
“I have always been a 24/7 kind of a man when it comes to my work. My wife always asked me if I am married to the traffic department or her,” he joked.
His wife, Trudy, said: “Africa was really married to the department. His work and the people of the Western Cape came first. He gave it his all.”
She also described her husband as well respected by those in law enforcement, and was well known to the public: “He was always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty.”
Premier Alan Winde thanked Africa for his service and for the role he played in keeping the province’s road users safe.
Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela added: “It would be remiss of me while dealing with the massive contribution made by our traffic service not to acknowledge the impending retirement of Africa, after a long and distinguished career of 46 years in traffic management and enforcement.”
“In many ways, Africa is a legend highly regarded by many. We wish him everything of the best and record our thanks for a job well done in the service of others.”
Mayor Dan Plato said: “As MEC for community safety at the time, I knew that with Kenny Africa in charge of our traffic services I didn’t have anything to worry about.”
Africa took pride in his work, Plato added, and will leave some big shoes to fill. “Our roads are most definitely safer thanks to Africa and his team, and I’m sure the people of the Western Cape will miss that familiar voice on our radio stations,” he said.
Stellenbosch Mayor Gesie van Deventer said Africa has become synonymous with road safety in the province.
“He has been an invaluable colleague and the best example of what true public service is. We will be forever grateful for his hard work and sacrifice during his exceptional career. I hope he thoroughly enjoys his retirement,” said Van Deventer .
Transport and Public Works spokesperson Jandré Bakker said Africa has become fondly known as “Mr 24/7”, and has been an example of how someone could merge their profession and passion.
“From my first day of joining the department, he involved me in all he does and always has a kind word, not scared to reprimand, always has an ear and always wants to help, whether it is within his sphere of control or not,” Bakker said.
Africa would always have someone on speed dial who could assist in an emergency, Bakker added, and was always willing to share his knowledge.
“We will miss our ‘Chief’. We, however, know that this man will not be able to retire, he will most likely just ‘retreat’ and we look forward to seeing where next he makes an invaluable contribution.”