A taxi sticker that gives you something to mull over

There is a new sticker in minibus taxis that is remarkably popular with the drivers.

There is a new sticker in minibus taxis that is remarkably popular with the drivers.

It says in isiZulu: "Ngabe abantu besaba ingculazi njengoba besaba ibackseat" (If only people feared HIV-Aids the way they fear the back seat).

It is especially shocking because the back seat is the scourge of commuting by taxi. It is one of the reasons for the plaintive prayer: "Why me, Lord."

I say this with good reason. Last week I was in the back seat with three other mid-sized passengers. It was a tight fit and my arms literally went numb.

The circulation to my limbs was constricted by the other people pressing against me because of the restricted space.

I had to wriggle and rub my shoulder, arms, hands and fingers to keep the blood flowing. This annoyed the others so they moved in closer and almost squeezed me to death.

That is why no one wants to sit in the back. It can cause serious injury.

Taxis and HIV-Aids are two different cows unless the drivers feel that, since they transport lovers to their assignations, they should warn them of the pitfalls of the disease.

I hope commuters get the message and practise safe sex.

The answer to the back seat woes would be for drivers to put skinny people there.

They could also do away with the rule that says four bodies should sit in the back.

Minibus taxi drivers used to have inspiring messages for their passengers.

The most common sticker was about the folly of a verbal fight in front of strangers.

"Don't argue with a fool. People might not know the difference."

My favourite was: "You are ugly and your mother dresses you funny."

I don't know why I liked it so much. It could be because my mother still buys my clothes in an effort to turn me into a stunning belle. Fond hope.

The stickers disappeared from the taxis after passengers - mostly women - complained about their derogatory and sexist messages.

The one that raised their dander said: "A woman is a multiplication of problems, quarrels with friends, separation from family and disappearance of money."

Another said: "A woman is like a taxi. You can get one around the corner."

"Gone are the days when girls used to cook like their mothers. Today they drink like their fathers," was a favourite one in manytaxis.

The religious drivers displayed stickers asking God for the safe delivery of their passengers.

They promised eternal damnation to those who strayed from the straight and narrow path.

A sticker I saw on a Rolls Royce in Sandton said: "F... the poor". I suppose the man was tired of pretending to be poor and had donor fatigue.

I wonder, though, if the moneyed classes accepted him as an equal.