WHEN mechanic Mandla Shongwe’s car comes towards you, you see a sleek gusheshe.
But when it passes you, all you see is a bakkie! Mandla calls it “umshini ozishintsayo” – or the machine that changes itself! But Mandla’s self-made Beemer-bakkie is no skorokoro. The married father of six said his car had all the features normal cars have such as air-conditioning, airbags and a sound system. It is powered by a 2-litre engine. His beautiful car draws whistles and stares, grabbing attention wherever it goes.
Mandla (47), from Weilers Farm, south of Joburg said he started building his car about six years ago. He bought very few of the materials he used, opting instead to scavenge parts from old, scrapped cars. When the SunTeam visited him at his house, many wrecked cars were parked in his yard.
“This car is unique. Its bonnet, doors and tyres do not fit any other gusheshe or any other car, for that matter – it’s a mixture of parts from different cars.” His aim was to make it look like a gusheshe, and he didn’t miss the mark as it looks like the real deal from the front. Mandla said he had always wanted to own a BMW but couldn’t afford one and that’s why he built his own.
“But more than that, I wanted to spoil myself,” he explained.
“We local mechanics work hard but our work is never recognised or appreciated. I’m not done with it,” he emphasised, saying he planned to convert it into a mobile DJ studio. “The base will be fitted with a sound system and I want my son to use it when he deejays.” His son Sipho Shongwe (22) said he was pleased to know that his dad supported his dream of becoming a DJ.
Mandla said his wish one day was to own a car dealership specialising in beautiful and unique cars like his umshini ozishintsayo.