Scary stories from a lovely place
(This is a guest post written by my friend [who is actually a real writer] Grace Moaisi. In light of the recent public transport strikes in Cape Town this is a helpful and informative piece.)
First of all, welcome to the streets of Johannesburg.
Your stay here will be long and fruitful if you follow these tips.
1. Always put the commuter first
Commuters want the joy of being driven in a homely, pre-used model. Not a start-up that still has the pungent smell of recently-manufactured leather. That is why when it comes to driving taxis, antiques are the future.
It is not old; it is antique. It is not falling apart; it has character. Seasoned taxi drivers are in on this secret; hence the smorgasbord of mobile relics on the road. Soon, everyone will be clamouring to get into your Nissan E20.
2. Bling is everything
But De Beers and AngloGold are still stuck in small-thinking. In no time, the real money will be in taxi signs.
Although you can opt for conventional killers such as “I like your perm but not on my window”, and “Please don’t bang the door”, creativity is the name of the game. Consider these authentic gems: “Women today used to cook like their mothers; now they drink like their fathers”, and “Thanx God I am a black man”.
Collect these signs; they’re investments.
3. Commuters who give you R50 and R100 notes in the morning, knowing full well you do not have the change, are just looking for a little conversation.
Poor things can get so stuck in the Jozi rat race that they miss out on real human interaction.
So humour them with an angry rant about how you will chase them out of the moving taxi and set your faithful friend the sjambok on their derrieres. This should leave them feeling like somebody cares about them. Humanitarian you are.
4. Do not be afraid to break the mould
The lane on the right is not primarily for oncoming traffic, as some have erroneously posited. It is firstly an alternative lane for taxi drivers. You ferry the bulk of the Jozi workforce to work every day.
How do you think they get there? Certainly not by getting stuck in traffic jams. And if you should encounter an oncoming vehicle, squeeze your way onto the left lane.
The drivers there will quickly accommodate you, knowing that you did your best to prevent a potentially terrible encounter. Truth be told it should be the oncoming drivers that should move out of the way, but alas, car drivers can be so selfish.
Let me tell you something, sir. There’s a reason even the president speaks it. It truly is a national language.
Make sure you’re fluent in it, because every commuter is.
Those who reply in any other language or pretend not to understand it are bloody agents who need to be referred to the Taxi Commuter Tribunal.
6. Do you have a poorboy hat? No? Are you a Tibetan monk? This accessory, dear brother, is a mark of our profession. Especially a black leather one.
7. Is that woman in the distance moving her legs? Go get her tiger. She wants to go to town with you. Are the other commuters complaining? Inconsiderate misogynists!
8. A taxi is like a Sumo wrestler, neither can ever be too full. Besides, a lonely commuter is more likely to make friends with someone whose rib-cage they’ve elbowed. So pack it in.
Do you have any more tips for our brothers-on-wheels?
Grace Moaisi writing for City Press at http://www.citypress.co.za.