Pope Francis to tour Madagascar in locally-made Karenjy popemobile

The pope, making his maiden visit to Madagascar, arrives in Antananarivo on Friday from Mozambique
Pope Francis to tour Madagascar in locally-made Karenjy popemobile

Over the decades, popemobiles have typically been the preserve of major car manufacturers such as Mercedes, Ford and Fiat.

But the vehicle that will carry Pope Francis around the streets of the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo for his visit there this week is locally-made — and its furnishings are simple and open, in line with the pope’s distaste for luxury and aloofness.

Painted in an immaculate white and adorned with two Vatican flags, the open-topped vehicle is made by a Madagascar company called “Karenjy”.

“It’s with great joy that we present you the popemobile,” the apostolic nuncio, or Vatican envoy, to the island, Paolo Rocco Gualtieri, told the press ahead of the visit.

“Pope Francis will be delighted to visit Madagascar in this car.”

Pope Francis to tour Madagascar in locally-made Karenjy popemobile
Details of the Karenjy Popemobile, used by the Catholic Pope during public appearances, presented to the press in Antananarivo. (Photo by RIJASOLO / AFP)

The pope, making his maiden visit to Madagascar, arrives in Antananarivo on Friday from Mozambique, the first port of call on an East African tour that will also include Mauritius.

Your Friends Also Read:  Kenya's Lamu Island gets investment ready with infrastructure projects worth $27 billion

Karenjy, whose name means “Stroll” in the Malagasy language, has followed familiar design principles for the vehicle.

It has a high roof to protect the pope from sun or rain, a pivoting seat from which he can salute the crowds and a glass screen to allow all-round visibility for the public.

But it breaks with classic popemobiles in that the canopy is not bullet-proof.

“The specifications set by the Vatican for the manufacture of this car have been met in every aspect,” Karenjy’s representative Jean Fleuris Jaotody told reporters.

“The pope chose not to have bulletproof glass. He prefers simple cars,” said Father Germain Rajoelison, deputy co-ordinator of the papal visit to Madagascar.

Your Friends Also Read:  Madagascar's abortion ban and the lucrative business for 'angel makers'

“He doesn’t like to have a wall separating him (from the faithful). He really wants to be close to the people.”

The one-off vehicle is the fruit of five months of labour by 15 workers at Karenjy’s site in Fianarantsoa, southeastern Madagascar.

The company, which started life in 1984, uses French-made engines for the sturdy, if boxy, all-terrain vehicles, priced at a relatively modest $7,100 and adapted for local needs.

It makes just a few dozen a year.

In 1989, the little-known company scored a PR coup when taking Pope John Paul II for a spin when he visited Fianarantsoa.

Its marketing chief, Henry Roussel, is ecstatic over the order for the popemobile.

“The fact that Pope Francis will be using a locally-made popemobile is really a powerful symbol and message of hope,” he said.

“It’s acknowledging the skills we have in Madagascar.”

Father Rajoelison added:

“People often say that our country is poor. It is a poor country, but look at the skills these people have. This car was built by people who came from poor families and who got a job.”


All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central TV.
Your Friends Also Read:  China becomes Kenya’s top creditor following Sh70bn in new loans

Contact: digital@newscentral.ng

Total
0
Shares

Leave a Reply

Previous Article
12 people arrested in Cote d'Ivoire over DJ Arafat's tomb desecration

12 people arrested in Côte d'Ivoire over DJ Arafat's tomb desecration

Next Article
Police arrest truckers for anti-foreigner protests in South Africa

Police arrest truckers for anti-foreigner protests in South Africa

Related Posts