The taxi stops rapidly again, and a man tries to get in, outside is a boy of about 17 pulling at his leg, the man says ,“Los my! (Leave me!)” the boy says, “gee my geld eers! (Give my money first!).” The man does not speak any further, with his one leg outside and the other inside. He reaches for something in his pants close to his hip. At first, I don’t understand what’s going on, but soon I realise when he pulled out a 12cm knife and starts stabbing the boy.

My mind goes blank. I say a small prayer to God and ask him to prepare a place in heaven for me as the taxi pulls away quickly and the man comes to sit right behind me.

Out of Katanga, finally three high school girls get into the taxi. They sit right next to the driver. They send the gaatjie to the shop owned by foreigners. He gets out and buys a cool-drink. He comes back and talks to the girls. The gaatjie seems to be at least 27 and the driver about 32 years old. The girls look as if they’re in Grade 10, which is about 16 years of age.

The driver puts his hand on the girl’s upper thigh that’s sitting next to him and smiles at the other girls while the taxi stays stagnant, waiting for the gaatjie to pour the girls their drink. It was too early for the girls to be out from school, so it was obvious that they skipped school to enjoy the company of fine men.

After pouring the drink for each one of them, the taxi started moving again. The man behind me decided to move to the front of the taxi. It wasn’t long before the girls reached their destination and one of the girls gave the gaatjie a kiss on the lips.

The man that was now seated in front of me turned to the lady and her baby. As the taxi stopped, he grabbed her bag and jumped out. The lady screamed, but the driver and gaatjie just watched as the man stole her things and did nothing. The lady cried as all her money was in the bag. The driver and gaatjie then drove on for a while, but put the lady out because she could not pay for her trip.

I sat still. I was silent and numb to all around me. I watched and waited and finally after picking up about ten more people after that, I got out and paid my fare.


Tell us: What do you make of this taxi ride so far?