Mmegi Online :: Turbulent journey of a Ghetto taxi driver
Banners
Banners
Banners
Banners
Last Updated
Monday 15 October 2018, 15:57 pm.
Banners
Turbulent journey of a Ghetto taxi driver

FRANCISTOWN: Taxi drivers in Botswana play a vital role, which needs no emphasis although to some people they are just a bunch of bad drivers who have no manners.
By Lebogang Mosikare Fri 12 Jan 2018, 17:03 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Turbulent journey of a Ghetto taxi driver








However in Botswana, for years, the word taximan has been synonymous with mostly males, who eke out their living by conveying passengers from one place to another in exchange for money.

But over a period with equality of genders being a topical issue, some women in the country joined the transport industry as taxi drivers, which was historically a male-dominated sector.

To their credit, taxi operators who spoke to Mmegi at the Francistown Bus and Taxi Rank acknowledged that the word ‘taximan’ is associated with taxi drivers who are rude to customers and those who do not obey traffic laws to the letter.

A native of Moroka, Ngoni Kusekwa, who boasts 38 years of experience as a public transporter confirmed the above observation.

He was, however, quick to put the statement in its proper perspective.

“Yes, it is true that we have some bad apples amongst us. But just like in life, people are different. It is unfair to paint us with the same brush,” complained the 63-year-old.

He said he started his journey in the transport industry working for a mini-bus that plied the Francistown-Ramokgwebana route as a conductor.

“I started in 1980 and worked as a conductor for five years. Thereafter, (from 1985 to 1990) I became a mini-bus driver. In 1990, I started driving taxis. I owned my first taxi in 1990,” Kusekwa said.

Married to three women and having 10 children between them, Kusekwa said he only attended school up to Standard 6 when he to join some of his Zezeru tribesmen to eke his living.

He added: “The taxi driver blood runs in my veins. My father was also a taxi driver. I used to accompany him from a young age to the rank to learn the ropes of the transport industry”.

Kusekwa became nostalgic when asked to compare the yesteryear taxi industry and the present one.

Longing for the past, Kusekwa said business was profitable before as opposed to today since they just work for peanuts. 

“In the past, I used to make P300 to P400 everyday, but nowadays I will be lucky to go home with P150.

In the past the city was small, but the profits were good. Although the roads were bad, we used not to complain about profits,” Kusekwa said.

He added that their situation is compounded by piracy and the fact that there are many taxis today although he joked that the rank almost becomes near-empty when the police and transport officers mount roadblocks.

The veteran taximan said that being a cab driver is in itself a dangerous vocation.

“Sometimes some people masquerade as passengers only to rob

Banners

us of our hard earned cash. We are mostly robbed at night but sometimes we are robbed even during the day,” he said.

Kusekwa advised new entrants into the industry not to allow the love for money to blind their judgement because they have entered a risky business.

“Taxi drivers should not go to sparsely populated areas during odd hours because it exposes them to a lot of danger. I have been robbed in the past and in some instances I simply drove away when some passengers were refusing to pay me in order to save my life. My life is more precious than money,” he said.

Kusekwa said he now owns two taxis and a mini-bus that transports passengers from Francistown to the Zimbabwe border.

He said the transport industry is a lucrative business if one knows what they want to achieve in life.

“Some people like Thomas Chikore who used to operate Sesennye Bus Services started as taxi drivers, but went (on) to become transport moguls. The list is endless. But as you know God does (not) reward us in the same way,” Kusekwa said with a knowing smile.

He bemoaned the fact that although taxi drivers play a very important role in society, their place is not recognised like people who are engaged in blue and white-collar jobs.

“We need to be respected. The job we are doing is critical to the economy of this country. The economy of this country would be crippled if we were to strike one day like it happens in South Africa,” Kusekwa said.

People who are learned are usually referred to by many names like fountains of knowledge or walking encyclopedias, Kusekwa said.

It would not be wrong to refer to Kusekwa as the Global Positioning System (GPS) of Ghetto as Francistown is fondly known by its hordes of residents because he said he knows almost all the streets of the city like the palm of his hand.

Other taxi drivers also speak highly of Kusekwa. They extol and urge other taxi drivers, especially those who are new in the profession to copy his mannerisms if they want to succeed in the transport industry.

Samson Petros, a member of the Botswana Bus, Taxi and Truck Association said: “Baba Kusekwa is our role model. We look up to him for advise in many areas concerning the transport industry. He is one of the few taxi drivers who entered this profession many years back. The other is Petros Magada who has more than 40 years’ experience working as a transport operator and taxi driver”.

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Banners
Banners
Banners


Features
Fri 12 Jan 2018, 17:03 pm
Fri 12 Jan 2018, 15:59 pm
Fri 12 Jan 2018, 15:43 pm
Fri 22 Dec 2017, 13:20 pm
Fri 22 Dec 2017, 13:20 pm
Fri 22 Dec 2017, 13:17 pm
Fri 22 Dec 2017, 13:14 pm
Fri 22 Dec 2017, 13:10 pm
Fri 22 Dec 2017, 13:10 pm
Fri 22 Dec 2017, 13:03 pm
Fri 22 Dec 2017, 12:52 pm
Fri 15 Dec 2017, 18:04 pm
Fri 08 Dec 2017, 18:48 pm
Fri 08 Dec 2017, 18:16 pm
Fri 08 Dec 2017, 17:32 pm
Fri 08 Dec 2017, 17:20 pm
Fri 01 Dec 2017, 18:46 pm
Fri 01 Dec 2017, 16:27 pm
Fri 01 Dec 2017, 16:22 pm
Fri 01 Dec 2017, 16:07 pm
Fri 01 Dec 2017, 16:07 pm
Fri 01 Dec 2017, 15:46 pm
Fri 01 Dec 2017, 15:46 pm
Fri 01 Dec 2017, 15:45 pm
Fri 01 Dec 2017, 14:53 pm
Banners
Banners
Exchange Rates
FOREIGN EXCHANGE: Wednesday, 17 Jan 2018
FOREIGN / PULA
PULA / FOREIGN
1 USD = Pula   9.7656
1 GBP = Pula   13.4590
1 EUR = Pula   11.9617
1 YEN = Pula   0.0882
1 ZAR = Pula   0.7938
1 Pula = USD   0.1024
1 Pula = GBP   0.0743
1 Pula = EUR   0.0836
1 Pula = YEN   11.34
1 Pula = ZAR   1.2597
Subscribe to our Newsletter
have a story? Send us a Tip
Banners
  • Previous
    Baby Mamas
    Next
    Masa Centre
    ::: Wednesday 10 Oct - Thursday 18 Oct :::
    Baby Mamas
    The House with a Clock in Its Walls
    Venom
    Night School
    Smallfoot
  • Previous
    Venom
    Next
    Riverwalk
    ::: Thursday 11 Oct - Thursday 18 Oct :::
    Venom
    Baby Mamas
    Night School
    Smallfoot
    The House with a Clock in Its Walls
  • Previous
    The House with a Clock in Its Walls
    Next
    Gamecity
    ::: Thursday 11 Oct - Thursday 18 Oct :::
    The House with a Clock in Its Walls
    Venom
    The Nun
    Night School
    Smallfoot
    Johnny English Strikes Again
Selefu
Stay Calm!
Banners
Banners
istanbul escort