E20, Nissan, leather texture, polished black—green exterior. The Green Mamba. I saw it from a distance. Silver hubcaps spinning to the subwoofer-round white line along each circumference of the four wheels. What followed from the clean polish interior and tinted windows taking us through the neighbourhood, were the tummy rippling bass boosted cabs with amplifier infused intoxicants afterschool. On my few visits, the back-seat was like an ode to a Rockford white and red taxi, loud enough to shake Edgar’s windows until the pane bled. It was so loud, store managers would come out to ask that the volume be lowered. Young spectators following the number plate threaded conversations before Twitter, but there were professionals in this culture. It’s a soundscape that you can only witness to understand how tweeters became a signatory to the VW Caravela which only served specific neighbourhoods.
Focalistic, Okmalumkoolkat and ShoMadjozi remind me of the resonance, vibe and awe that ruffled feathers but still got the neighbourhood story told. Perhaps the dominant violent reporting is an express service to a typical stereotype, lacking some semblance of experience. From observation and participation, engagement with the tattooed minibuses, name-tagged, and tarmac-bending maneuverers simply leaves tyre burn marks on any train of thought. In other words, some experiences leave one scarred for life: no matter how few or many. It is alarming that this part, the youthful part of the transport industry remains outside of the radar until a taxi rolls downhill.
While road safety is important, it should be a curiosity to report the hangover inducing taxi trips to parks, hidden bottles, fresh attire, and a jolly mood even toward pens-down. I write having skipped much of these transported-festivities and recollecting the excitement brewed with petrol burnt to make such trips tick.
Interestingly, drivers usually take naps, or hang-around (sober), monitoring the young and indulging in every edge of fun if they choose to. Think about it, most won’t risk their taxi nor the relationship with the owner—but they should serve the young riders, ready to pause a journey and turn shock absorbers into their jumping castle. Moreso, take the tune to a parking lot, door open and tent spread over cooler boxes, braai-stand breathing beefy smoke, and camp-chairs for the seated republic—especially at the parks.
The 76ers could have wished it otherwise, protests in dance, drinks aren’t close to the battlefield.
But rebels they are, and not by chance. June 16’s hangover couldn’t have been this silent. Streets aren’t bustling with the aura to reclaim hooka smoke, spilt purple ciders on white sneakers, and the dandy wear tearing through trends. I’m sure you’ve seen them: young, thrifty and tailored to take us back in time by what they wear—it’s so retro and colour-blocked, it’s impossible to call it afro-pop. A whole wave of new soul ready to move-on like the Brother does. It’s that first question after sliding the door opens: “Sho, e ya Jozi?” By the time boarding is done, that question simply rephrases a rigged deck of cards, because every other headline is a black jack, moment.
Without policy momentum, this bellowing youth will sweep below our planning and policy efforts to contribute to the regeneration of organic mobility cultures. When the question “how derived is the demand for travel?” was posed in 2001, it seemed like such a distant theme on paper, although it lays bare in society’s senses. When they posed the question, Professors Patricia Mokhatian and Ilan Salomon probably did not imagine it would reach our shores. When freedom strikes, I’m sure more youthful work is called for. Like fingers hail for transport services, making the call is not always dependent on who answers.
*Thank you for reading, more to come.