Last week I asked people on Twitter to tell me their worst taxi stories. Some were funny, while others were tragic – a friend of mine died from a stray bullet during taxi violence in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape.
But what was fascinating was how resigned people were to their circumstances. Taxi drivers hold all the power and the passengers are at their mercy.
But there were also positive stories.
Many black people had some form of a taxi business in their families, which helped them prosper. My uncle did so well with his taxi business that he built a massive house in rural Transkei in the late 1980s. His home could rival any fancy abode in Sandton, and from that, he was able to build himself a shop that put a rival white shop owner in the village out of business.
Here are a few examples of taxi terror stories.
This tweet is a perfect example of a taxi driver keeping you in check. There was a time when the children who went to Model C schools were treated harshly because there was a perception that they thought they were better than everyone else.
@khayadlanga I yelled “circle” in my model C accent instead of “sekel” and he drove right past my stop.
— Khal-essy (@Sassy_essy) June 8, 2014
Another example of “no English” allowed:
@khayadlanga being promised to get a beating if we don’t stop speaking English ..as he feels we undermining his other passengers
— philisiwe dlamini (@philie_dlamz) June 8, 2014
This guy turned on the aircon in the taxi, and the driver’s response was gangster:
Turned on the aircon and was told to pay extra R30 nditye ipetrol RT @khayadlanga: What was your worst taxi experience?”
— #Gemini06/14 (@CVG_Ndzipha) June 8, 2014
For those who are not familiar with being inside a taxi, when you are in the front seat, you become the taxi driver’s accountant. You collect and count money from the other passengers. In this case, one of the taxis didn’t have enough change and this was obviously the only solution:
I was forced to get change from another taxi driver on the highway whilst both taxis where doing +80km/h @khayadlanga
— Thandeka Ngobeni (@peanut_moi) June 8, 2014
And then there was a seatbelt incident …
I sat in front, put on iseatbelt & locked the door. He told me it was NOT my mother’s car RT @khayadlanga: What was your worst taxi experience?
— Fezeka Motsogi (@Fezekamotsogi) June 8, 2014
… and the stolen taxi:
— Jabulani (@papa_action) June 8, 2014
Some women get propositioned by taxi drivers, which works out badly for everyone else:
@khayadlanga being macked on by the driver and being told he won’t stop 4 any1 until I gave him my number. The whole taxi ganged up on me
— KlauTherinAus! (@Vaho_ZeEM) June 8, 2014
And the time when everyone in the taxi was arrested …
@khayadlanga We wer ol arrested in a taxi cz d cops found a bag full of dagga, whn dey askd bwt d bag akekho owathi esakho. I ws so pissed
— Randy Mahlobo (@RandyReeh) June 8, 2014
… or when the driver abandoned his taxi to avoid metro cops.
@khayadlanga This other taxi driver saw the Metro cops, He abandoned the taxi and ran away. We had to make a plan of getting to work!
— Bongiwe Ndlovu (@Angelkazi) June 8, 2014
Apparently taxi drivers are not too kind if you do not speak a Nguni language. So it is not only that is English forbidden:
Every taxi ride in Joburg is an awful experience for us non-Zulu/Xhosa speaking folks cc @khayadlanga
— #Galeshewe (@KeviarONE) June 8, 2014
And asking the driver to turn down his music is the ultimate rookie mistake:
@khayadlanga taxi driver playing maskandi at full blast from Jozi to Nongoma at night. When we complained he drove at 160 in the fog