It’s so African to greet the driver


the taxi is sweltering jumping on and off the dry murram pushing forward doing the moon walk down into the horizon on our journey to the place that never sleeps and its dwellers have even the surplus power to light their verandas while we in the village sleep in the darkness. As the big white squeaky taxi snakes its way round the immoral roads, the mud and wattle buildings along the road keep spitting out human beings focused on the big city dream, to work and get paid in the city.

Seat after seat the emptiness is slowly but steadily filled by human mass of all girth and shapes. The stale air is replaced by the smell of freshly brushed teeth, and heavy stench and from their belch introduces the smell of tea in the air.

A scream that hey, we the stomachs are full and ready to rumble.

But as they stream in, there is a routine followed by each person like a choir rhyme. From the moment that big door is drawn under its weight to let in the next body sacrificing down this vehicles comes the warm smile iced by some inviting eyes and good wishing gesture. The person at the door burns that one minute to greet the driver with some pleasantries and goes

‘How is your morning driver, how did you sleep and the ones you left at home hope they are doing well’

this greeting does not last as short as a cocks intercourse but lasts a while as seconds turn into 60 that go into average 3minutes and Ironically despite the despite the talk that we town people are busy bees to whom every second wasted is money spent we all somehow sit their stone cold with the patience Buda as these two go back and forth in their endless tirade and greeting woven in slick wordplay. 

For the 14 sitter the ritual continues for each new commuter as this our way of asking for journey masses down this unpromising beaten path and instead of listening to the vehicle’s in built radio the passengers slowly but surely delve into their conversations exchanged over periodic mouthfuls of mandazi and juice bought at the town shop. It’s like everyone and is reciting their own eulogy and reading their obituary to their neighbor with the hope that if the car got tired of its tires and flew over like a KLM plane then the few survivors would recite these last words to the bereaved family.  This flooding of words continues all the way as knowledge, age and vocality play the invitational role welcoming and shutting down who speaks at what time and when.

On arrival the passengers are quick to fight for a chance to rub with the drivers hand grip and thank him for his good driving and pour all sorts of blessings onto his shoulders that he will carry for the rest of the day. The passengers then head on to thank their rosary for journey masses they have enjoyed while Muslims scream out ishaa Allah.



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