The Car Guard Chronicles

"A car guard is an informally employed person in charge of finding parking spots for cars and ensuring the safety of those cars until their owners return".

I hope my images will inspire us to be more tolerant and understanding towards each other. This project aims to document the everyday life of car guards in South Africa. I believe that just a bit of humility can change someones day. I believe in being treated with dignity no matter who you are or what you do in this world. I observe the beauty in the survival and the creativity of the entrepreneur. I have hope. Always.

Tomorrow is another day..

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey and for reading and viewing. 

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts or mail me directly.

The Car Guard






Erika 58 has been a car guard at the centurion licensing department for over 4 years. She lives in the Reeds, and is from Potgietersrus originally. She used to be a manager at  Geen & Richards a furniture shop in Midrand. She said that they closed shops down and she couldn't find another job so she became a car guard. She got a package from work, payed her debt and bought a car, a Ford Fiesta. She drives all the guards to work.

The opportunity to work at this spot came about because she has known Jaco the supervisor for over 8 years. She asked him if he could organize her a job and he said yes. She said they met at a restaurant and that they are just very close friends. 

Her mouth kept pulling to the side while we spoke. So.. I asked her why, then she told me all about the stroke she had 7 months ago.  She told me that she thinks it may be caused by stress. She said that she used to get epileptic fits here in the parking lot “party dae het ek sommer net so ingesak net hier” she is on medication and tells me that the more she tries and contol the face pulling the more it keeps pulling. she says she wants to go see the doctor again to see if they cant give her something for her face.

She said she uses blood thinning medication and told me that to her it felt like rat poison. She has no choice, her blood is thick. She tells me that after the stroke she cant stop moving her feet and arms move involuntarily 

She tells me she has a son, and that she is a grandmother of two. Her son lives in Krugersdorp. She thinks that her son isn't happy about her being a car guard “maar n werk is n werk mamma”. She does see them often and loves them to bits. 

She tells me she was divorced many years ago 15 years or so, her ex husband loved woman to much. She then hints that Jaco and herself might be seeing each other.  

Erika is the only female in the shared house they live in, she said that she prefers living with men “ek bly eerder saam 20 mans voor ek saam n vrou bly, mans is nie moeilikheid nie”. Everyone makes turns to cook food in the house, she said that she likes doing the dishes so she does that, but that they have a cleaning lady that does the washing and she irons too. She told me that they live in Jako’s mom’s house. The house has 5 rooms and that they each have their own room. “Ons deel 2 badkamers maar ek is gewoond om met mans te deel by nou so nee wat dit is nie erg nie”.

She tells me being a car guard isn't a bad job but that its a hard job. 

They are busy here, each car guard earns more or less R150 a day. They don't pay to stand here. She also tells me she does other stuff too. One of the other car guards started charging people to stand in the cue for them, then they all started doing it. It seems like a great way to earn double what they are making daily. They keep their spots from 5:30 in the morning. 

If you need to renew  your license you can just ask one of the car guards to keep your place in line.

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Special thanks to Instax Fuji Film for sponsoring film and Olympus for the dictaphone.

Every guard gets to instantly keep the memory of our chat. 



The stories told are by no means my own. They are not researched facts, they have only been written down as told to me. I do not intend to insult or accuse anyone by the words used in this blog. Please contact me directly.