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CAPE TOWN - Today marks the end of a bit of an era for the Western Cape.

The province's head of traffic clocks off today for the last time as he heads into retirement.

Kenny Africa has become a very well known name on the province's airwaves and after 46 years as a public servant, he's got a lot of stories to tell.

But he almost didn't become a traffic cop at all.

Growing up in Genadendal in the Overberg during the darkest days of Apartheid, Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa initially wanted to become a lawyer.

But one Easter weekend, he saw a convoy of traffic officers driving through his hometown and he was sold.

"When those cars came into Genadendal, I said to myself I'm going to become a traffic officer. The cars were so beautiful with the blue lights, officers looked so neat in their uniforms."

But to join, wasn't as easy as he'd thought and after numerous unsuccessful applications, an 18-year-old Africa decided to hitch hike from his hometown to Cape Town one morning in 1974.

"I got to Alfred Street where the Department of Transport was, went to the 6th floor, knocked on the door and a gentleman asked if he could help and I said: 'Yes Sir, I want to become a traffic officer.' He said: 'Sorry, you're just a day too late' and the tears rolled down my eyes."

The officials learnt that Africa had unsuccessfully applied four times prior to that and decided to give him an opportunity to go for an interview and 46 years later at 4pm this afternoon, Africa will start writing the next chapter of his life.

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This article first appeared on EWN : After 46 years, WC traffic chief Kenny Africa to retire from public service

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