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Tempers flare over 'toilet seat' in rush-hour taxi

By unknown | Feb 27, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Commuters on the Phefeni- Meadowlands-Western route were scared out of their wits last Wednesday when a newish blue minibus swerved around their taxi and blocked it.

Commuters on the Phefeni- Meadowlands-Western route were scared out of their wits last Wednesday when a newish blue minibus swerved around their taxi and blocked it.

The incident happened as the taxis were passing the new development area near New Canada, outside Soweto, in the morning rush hour.

The vehicle completely blocked their taxi and prevented it from moving on. The driver slid down and tried to hide under the steering wheel.

The terrified passengers thought that a taxi war was about to erupt. Women screamed and men tried to scramble over the women to the door.

Since the hostel wars of the late 1980s, men know that intelezi does not work against bullets.

Then a bizarre scene unfolded. The offending minibus driver got out of his vehicle and went straight towards a passenger. He started shouting at the man in Zulu, and pointing at him.

He was furious and told the passenger that he was going to meet his ancestors that very moment.

The passenger, who spoke Tsonga, got out and returned the compliment. The fight warmed up rapidly as the men exchanged insults and threats for five minutes.

It was funny because the antagonists were using two different languages to convey their intentions. Perhaps language is unimportant if the intent and threat are understood.

It was clear that there could not be any rational discussion or resolution of the bad feelings.

An auntie who had been sitting next to the Tsonga speaker then joined in the fight. She called the aggressive driver's passengers to witness his madness.

She claimed that the driver had not been brought up properly. She promised him hell on earth if he so much as touched the Tsonga man.

Her fellow passengers shushed her, telling her that the driver would probably kill her too. She said she was not afraid to stand up for the truth and told them the reason for the fight.

By then the passengers had been waiting for 10 minutes and were quite a distance away from their workplaces.

Apparently the fight started when the Tsonga man refused to sit on the toilet seat in that driver's taxi. It is called the toilet seat because it is an extremely thin seat that taxi drivers make themselves to fit in one more passenger than the manufacturer had intended.

Indeed, taxi drivers themselves call it the toilet seat because the passenger has to press his sphincter shut, ukuminya, to fit in.

Those with generous bodies get their love handles squashed and pinched. The toilet seat is an uncomfortable ride, but it costs as much as a normal seat.

The passenger had angered the driver by telling him that he preferred travelling in a taxi whose driver respected his passengers.

The angry taxi driver had then driven slowly until the man's taxi passed. He then blocked it as revenge for the insult.

However, both fighters were not willing to become physical. They both eventually got into their vehicles and drove off.


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