Subject: Fw: Taxi Ride!


> Togetherness Tshabalala weaves his Toyota High Impact African Culling
> Equipment (Hi-Ace for short) through the rush-hour traffic, occasionally
> using the pavement to increase productivity. The rising sun shines
> brightly off Togetherness' gleaming stolen BMW hubcaps.
> Togetherness is a confident man with high spirits, as evidenced by the
> stickers on this rear window:
> On the front of his taxi, between a large dent, which ominously is in
> the shape of a large traffic cop, and the holes from a small spray of
> bullets, is a lurid notice reading: "JUKSKEI PARK EXPRESS INAUGURAL
> FLIGHT". Using the word "flight" is Togetherness' own little personal
> joke. What we are witnessing is the inaugural leg of what is hopefully
> to become a daily service between Jukskei Park and Johannesburg ... a 25
> km journey which takes 10 minutes ... less if the pavements are open.
> The percussion waves from Togetherness' powerful radio (taken from a BMW
> Z3) pushes back the early mist. He is playing Boom Shaka's latest low
> frequency, 120dB hit (How Low Can We Go). He hoots as he drives.
> Togetherness hoots at anything he sees ... including trees ... as is the
> custom of his people.
> On board the taxi are a dozen white people. They do not come whiter than
> this. They are Omo white. But they were not born white. No, their pallor
> is due to fear and stark terror.
> Take John Mleka. Never in his life has he done 0 to 100km/h in six
> seconds - specially not in heavy traffic.
> Denise Mthaba's colour has changed from green/black to a sort of waxen
> ivory as quickly as the last traffic light had changed to red. (A colour
> which traditionally prompts taxi drivers to make even more haste).
> Togetherness regularly looks over his shoulder while driving - even for
> a full minute - asking passengers their destinations.
> Elizabeth Mkize, sitting right at the back, has the opportunity to say
> "Rendbeg Senta" even though she works in Johennesbeg. Randburg was
> coming up fast and it suddenly seemed near enough for her (at only
> 20km's to walk). She worries about how she will make her way to the
> front - but only fleetingly, because the taxi has now reached Randburg
> Centre and Togetherness has stopped. He has stopped as suddenly as a
> plane might stop up against a mountain. Now EVERYBODY is at the front in
> a warm, intimate heap. Elizabeth alights as gracefully as anybody can
> with one knee locked behind the other. She is vaguely aware of
> passers-by loosening her clothing and shouting ... "give her air !!"
> Togetherness bowls happily along Jan Smuts Avenue, overtaking a Police
> BMW which is chasing a getaway car. Then he overtakes the getaway car
> too - exchanging boisterous greetings with the driver, whom he knows.
> Togetherness is steering with his elbows because he needs his hands free
> to check the morning's takings and to wave to girls on the pavement.
> What is even more remarkable is that Togetherness is doing this despite
> the fact that his taxi does not have a steering wheel !
> When Togetherness' friend, Sipho stole this vehicle, it was fitted with
> a steering lock, so Sipho had to remove the steering wheel. The spanner
> that Sipho has attached to the steering bolt in its place is adequate
> though. Togetherness smiles and turns to his passengers as he
> accelerates past a truck on a blind rise. He announces "Ladies and
> gentlemen, these ees your kepten. We will shortly be lending in
> Johennesbeg. Plis make sure your seatbelts are in an upright posishun,
> and your seats are fastened. Thenk you for flying with us today. We hope
> to see you soon again."
> John Mleka is gripping his seat in front of him so tightly, that he
> notices his finger tips have gone transparent, as a passing taxi fires a
> brief burst from an automatic weapon in his direction,
> Togetherness now reaches the city and merges with the in-bound traffic
> like his ancestors merged with the British at Isandlwana. He stops at
> his usual disembarkment point in the middle of an intersection and picks
> his teeth patiently while people sort out their legs and teeth, before
> groping their way towards a pole around which they can throw their arms.
> By the time his passengers' eyeballs have settled back in their parent
> sockets, Togetherness is already halfway back to Jukskei Park with
> another load of passengers.