Angels of an Oldtimer – Portraits

The mechanics of one Weekend

Owning a van 2 years older than me has taught me many things. Mostly, how to be my own mechanic, but also, how to take portraits of mechanics.

Just after I bought it, my fanbelt popped, and me – not knowing anything about cars, drove it till something gave. That thing was my head gasket cylinder and is cause for an engine overhaul. Being partly pretty controlling, I was not going to hand over my new baby to someone I didn’t know.

Luckily, I was inbetween jobs, so I went and sat in Melkom’s workshop for two weeks and watched him. He subsequently became my head-mechanic. Still not being very trusting, I constantly whatsapped my brother in germany, who did all the necessary research online. I then bothered poor Melkom about everything – was he replacing all the right seals and gaskets? If he was doing X, was he doing Y in the process? Melkom must have thought I knew a lot about cars and engine overhauls. And he must have thought I was the most annoying small, blond girl that has ever sat in his garage.

Many moons and many years later, I had solved a myriad of mechanical problems, most of them being minor. So minor in fact,  that it sometimes took 10 mechanics to find one problem. Each referring me to the next.
I visited all of the mechanics in these pictures in one weekend (yes, without appointments, and yes, they work on weekends).

Finally, Mannie-the-Mechanic, who rightly calls me Jessica-love-hate, found the problem: someone had done a quick-fix and had tightened the return petrol pipe from the engine back to the tank a tad too well, sending 7 bars of petrol to my engine with nowhere else to go but through.

Easy to fix – super hard to find!

Many Thanks to Douw Steyn for assisting me on this project.

Portrait of Melkom, my head mechanic in Grassy park.

Black and white Portrait of a mechanic in Cape Town wearing his working gear.
Portrait of Mannie the Mechanic of Grassy Park, Cape Town
Portrait of the photographer Jessica Zumpe in her Mechanic clothes while working on her own car.
Young mechanic learning the tricks of the trade in Cape Town, South Africa.
Young mechanic proudly holding a gadget in Cape Town, South Africa.
Black and white portrait of a mechanic in his working clothes, wearing a cap and glasses.
Portrait of a young mechanic learning the tricks of the trade in Cape Town, South Africa.
Portrait of a mechanic working for Melkom in Grassy Park, Cape Town