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Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:49

Commuting in Jozi

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Coming from Polokwane, a small town in Limpopo, Johannesburg is a big city to me. It is a congested, confusing, concrete jungle compared to my somewhat clean, airy and less congested city. The taxis in Polokwane are in better shape and the taxi drivers aren’t so bad.

 I’ve been knocking on heaven’s door every time I ride in a taxi.  This is no joke. I find myself clutching my handbag and saying a little prayer for God not to take me away just yet. To and from work, it’s a constant battle with the grim reaper, knees bumping into the exposed and protruding sharp stainless steel corners of the tattered pleather covered seats, our bodies tossing into people, holding on tight… bracing ourselves for impact. We are never ready to join our Holy Father but we have to always be ready for anything can happen.

Pay up your stokvel, have life insurance and disability cover because it’s not going to be a smooth ride.

Taxi drivers drive like they own the road, they just takeover.  They’re always in a rush, cutting other cars on the road and they even drive on the pavement! Where are pedestrians supposed to walk?

I remember this one time when the taxi driver just casually said that the brake pads fell out. Zero fucks were given. Bathong! I cannot comprehend how someone would not care about their safety this much, what’s a vehicle without brakes if not a casket on wheels?

 “Hayi voetsek” rolls easily off almost every taxi drivers tongue I’ve had the pleasure of travelling with. They cross red robots, overtake in unovertakable situations, and no matter how questionable and wrong their actions, they will always, I mean always liberally bless the other motorists with spicy profanities that always make me wish I carried a bottle of Holy water to fire the demons out of these drivers!

Although I put taxi drivers in the spotlight, I’ve come to learn, after almost driving into a car that skipped a red robot, that almost everyone in Jozi drives like a maniac. Reckless and fast. But this is just my opinion.

 Accidents seem to be the norm here, this morning alone I came across two accidents on my way to work. Car accidents occur once in a blue moon in Polokwane. It is seldom that people are stuck in traffic because of a road accident scene, maar tjeses, Jozi is showing me flames!

 Talking about being seeing flames, there’s the bad traffic. If I got a 2bob for every time I got stuck in traffic I would be a rich girl! Since I came here I can finally join in conversations about being stuck in traffic for up to an hour.

Robots seldom work, there is always roadworks happening. I swear I stay about twenty minutes away from work but I need at least an hour to travel. Traffic is mean. But one has to adapt.

Trust me, there is no use ironing your clothes when you are going to take a taxi because your nice linens will only end up wrinkled from being squashed so go ahead and invest in some no need to iron clothes and save yourself the disappointment and the electricity.

Some taxi drivers have no respect for the people who bring them their business. They are making a living, I respect that, without them I would not be able to get to work, but damn they do not respect us shem. I hesitate every time I have to hand over my R11, this could either go well or it could just go left.

It is infuriating when the driver keeps picking up people off the road that time the taxi is filled to capacity because more passengers means more money and that is why sometimes I find myself squashed in a fourteen seater that’s carrying twenty people, the driver racing and beating his horn every time he sees a potential customer, oblivious to his customers discomfort and struggles to even breathe without taking up more space with the action of moving their lungs.

Riding a taxi in Gauteng is a sport that I find to be more like being in a dangerous and thrilling suspense tale that will have one reaching out and getting in touch with the Lord and sometimes enjoying the perks of beating traffic and getting to work on time. 


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