Africa Style: Inspiration from an unlikely contender

by Masingita Mazibuko. So, I’m stuck in slow-moving traffic when a minibus taxi tears past, missing my car by the smallest of margins, then screeches to a halt … before calmly and remarkably sedately reversing around me to pick up a customer hailing it down. It is not appropriate to pen down the thoughts that engulfed my mind at that specific moment. Relating this near-collision experience to a friend later, the discussion about the taxi industry took an unlikely turn.

One could argue that the minibus taxi is an evil necessity in South Africa, given our scarcity of public transportation. However, when one considers the yellow cabs in New York, the black cabbies in London or the mutatas in Kenya, it is obvious that the taxi as a form of transportation has endured for years, regardless of undulating economic conditions.

In fact, taxis feature in our songs and movies – there was Zola Budd in the 1980s by Brenda Fassie, and the iconic movie Taxi with Robert De Niro in the 1970s was remade in the 1990s, starring Queen Lafitah.

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