”Angihlali nje mina e-backseat,”, says the Taxi Queen, standing with both hand on her hips and taping her foot profusely outside of the half-full taxi.
The passengers slightly peek out of their windows to catch a glimpse of this seemingly annoyed woman. Her majesty is appalled by the thought of sharing the same space with mere commoners. She swiftly makes her way to the front seat of the taxi, opens the door and plants herself contentedly close to her King, the taxi driver of course.
There is an abrupt twitter of judgement behind them, especially from the women who had been secretly watching her majesty’s grand entrance. They turn their heads to each other; unendingly expressing a slight form of contempt for her performance. They continuously shake their heads and murmur other undesirable remarks about the Taxi Queen.
At least now they have something to talk about during the long ride home, since there is no radio in the taxi. Her majesty on the other hand could not be bothered by these insignificant commentaries. She caresses her weave, takes out her lip-gloss and adds more shine to her already glimmering luscious lips. She sits and giggles joyfully on her throne.
The Taxi Queen, also referred to as intombi kadriver, is not insanely beautiful, nor is she easy on the eye. You can effortlessly spot a Taxi Queen at any taxi rank, in any crowd. She is the boisterous lady with the unapproachable-angry-black-girl facial expression. This comes in handy when those young hormone-driven conductors even think of whispering sweet nothings to her ear.
She is exceedingly flashy and never leaves her home without her long, trusted glistening weave. She is impeccably covered with an array of brand labels from head to toe, which she can barely pronounce. Unbeknown to many, the very same labels she is always draped in can be found scattered all over her bedroom floor in knots and bundles. She does not even own a wardrobe. It is rather implausible since her majesty never fails to grace the taxi without her ensemble.
Her scent drifts to all compartments of the vehicle, whenever she gets on any taxi. She has an immense penchant for pungent perfumes, which also leads some of the passengers to promptly open their windows, even in the coldest of winters. What can we say, some people are simply not refined enough to match her majesty’s distinguished taste. But when all is said and done, many would agree that the Taxi Queen does indeed hold a much higher ranking in the taxi more so than the other members of the taxi family. Yes, taxis have a hierarchy too.
Now, not all Taxi Queens are in a budding relationship with the taxi driver. Some are just ladies who would simply rather sit in front because it is more spacious. Comfort is of utmost importance, well that and not having their fine outfits wrinkled. The other privileges of sitting in the front seat are that they do not have to shout like the rest of us when we have reached our destination.
There is another breed of Taxi Queens, these are young, naïve school girls. To be quite frank, most of them have some kind of recreational affiliation with the taxi driver. To them the taxi driver holds the key to ultimate social imperialism. They are openly envied by their peers. To them the joys of holding the title of Taxi Queen comes with certain advantages, such as the treats they devour in the presence of their friends in school. Hey, you would be envious too if your friend did not have to stand in those horrid long queues for ikota at the tuckshop. Most importantly they are exempted from paying the taxi fare, which is the just the cherry on top.
As colourful and comical as these characters may sound, they do serve the public a commendable service. Taxi drivers can work long hours, driving back and forth on the same route and have an occasional smoke break namajita erank. They have to watch their temper as they get an earful from omama who always find something to criticise about them. The Taxi Queen thus provides the taxi drivers relief and a form of escape from the commotion that usually ensues behind their throne, the front seat that is.
Tell us what you think: Do you know any taxi queens in your neighbourhood? How do they act?