Queues, grubby-faced children, magoduka suitcases make beeline for taxis

The members were moaning about the festive season break. There are never enough taxis because the drivers go back home to KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo or North West.

The members were moaning about the festive season break. There are never enough taxis because the drivers go back home to KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo or North West.

Already drivers are asking their mates when they will take a break and in what part of the country they intend to celebrate the New Year.

We will see a lot of what is called the Zulu bracelet come the New Year. It is amusing to see people from other tribes sporting the Zulu bracelet when their ancestors did not practise that ritual.

I wonder if the ancestors really listen when you ask for help with a foreign ritual and call on them to wake up and take up the cudgels on your behalf .

Commuters also have to wake up early because there are long queues of mothers with grubby- faced children trekking to Johannesburg for their yearly shopping.

Most of these mothers seldom use taxis. When they do their yearly big shopping trip, they get up early as though they are going to catch a train.

I know from my grandmother that the train waits for no one so one has to be there an hour or two before.

Their children run up and down and demand chips, fruits and toys that are sold at the taxi rank.

Vendors target children and add to the mayhem. The children scream and throw tantrums if they do not get their way.

One woman with a train of children behind her skirts plonked her toddler on my lap without a by-your-leave to avoid paying for the child. It did not concern her that the child was filthy.

If you were interested you could trace her shopping spree by the ice-cream, smelly chicken grease, and popcorn stains on the toddler's front.

I promptly handed the child back and the mother gave me a dirty look as if to say I lack ubuntu. I had no choice because I was wearing a white dress and the child had made a beeline for my bosom with its dirty paws.

Members of my commuter group often wonder why it is obligatory to be nice to babies in the taxi. People think you are a monster if you do not pinch the baby's cheeks or amuse it by making funny faces.

I think some mothers work to get a break from their snotty kids. It is the greatest cheek to be expected to leave your own children at home and then have to entertain those of another woman.

Last year we all looked on in wonder as a woman, her six children and four striped magoduka suitcases, tried to fit into the middle seat.

She laid the suitcases on the seat and got her children to climb up and sit on them. She told the driver that she would only pay for one passenger because her children's bums did not come anywhere near the seats.

Needless to say, the driver tossed her out, but I admired her nerve.

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