Taxi chronicles and the art of tongue in cheek slogans
Commuters around the country often get amused or regaled by the numerous messages inscribed in and outside their daily mode of transport, the combi/taxi. Never without a dull moment, our local taxis have seen a way to add a bit of vivacity and brighten the faces of the daily customers as they ferry them to and fro work, between their daily shifts, errands or schools.
These writings, frequently humorous or downright silly, continue to add the much-needed glitter of hope in the usually fraught faces of their commuters, which are often heavy and laden with life’s many distresses.
Although not new, these messages have and continue to acclimatise to whatever could be the rage, each year getting customised to whatever could be trending at the time.
#BotswanaUnplugged took to the Gaborone Bus Rank and Station where our roving lens captured these vivid messages as well as finding out from the taxi drivers themselves the rage behind these inspiring albeit trivial and enduring tradition of combi messaging…
“We write what we like! It’s our way of adding the much needed verve into the lives of our customers (passengers) as we ferry them between their errands daily. The trend is however, diminishing as you can see most of the combis you see here today are spick-and-span,” said one anynomous taxi driver.
His colleague ferociously nibbling on some juicy fat cake coupled with some shredded tripe (serobe) added that the random taxi messages are just a way of communicating the character behind the driver or owner, and they are in no way pejorative.
“These are just simple messages we scribble on either the back or front of our daily mode of transport. At times, they can even be found inside. It’s our way of keeping our customers engaged and making them forget their daily plights. We try and create a conducive environment for all our clients to thrive,” said another anonymous combi driver.
While these messages are somewhat decreasing, with some asserting it’s due to the harsh and strict rules from the Department of Transport and Road Safety (DTRS) – who from time to time require our public transport to be squeaky-clean, the random combi drivers we spoke to said the messages cause no harm, and they must be allowed to write what they like, as long as it’s not derogatory or defamatory.
So next time you jump into a public transport, look up and smile, the message scribbled on your ride could just brighten your day!