The worst crime one can commit in Windhoek is not having your own transport. It paralyses your ability to be a social butterfly in this buzzing city.
Unfortunately that is my crime, and I seriously need to do something about it and nogaals very fast. Off course, you can always make use of your friend’s car, or ask him to chauffer you around. The thing is that you need to be brave if you opt for this … Unless you don’t mind feeling like a scrub – TLC hit song “Scrub”.
I had a nasty experience once when a friend (I thought he was), perched the TLC CD in the car radio and kept it on repeat, even before I had the chance to strap myself in his car. I really felt “like a scrub chilling on the passenger side of his best man ride”. Needless to mention I did not “hola” at girls at all throughout the driving session.
So in cases like that, I opt for no-scrub like transport, even though it qualifies to look like a “homemade skorokoro” – the taxi.
It takes you from point A to B in record time and it is always readily available at a whistle, a “mannetjie fist” and a shout ‘Tura.
However, the taxi’s reliability is also limited, especially at month end when these “Paolo Falcone sandals wearing taxi drivers” wield so much power.
This past week, I got to understand how much power these guys hold.
Cluttered with goodies from Pick ‘n Pay as my monthly rations of shopping bags, I got into the first available taxi, “Yes, Freedom Square, I said – the brother ignores me. So I go again Chief Ko Freedom Square, fiyo opumbo.”Aye ndjamo. Ashamed I disembark and no sooner does the driver go out howling to some lighter complexioned customers, Windhoek West, Windhoek North, Central Dorado, but no Katutura. With the heavy outpours the Namibian skies have been blessed with this season, I got soaked again and again, until I begged for any taxi to take me home for double the fare.
Most of these taxis hail deep from the bundu of Katutura and yet they don’t want to take Katutura people to the township at month end – this I seriously call “month end discrimination”.
As an obedient paying customer, I suggest we go on a disobedient taxi campaign to show that we from Katutura don’t like it when taxis treat us badly month end. Here are some tricks we can use to make life living hell for taxi drivers.
– In the morning never pay before you reach your destination. If you have loose coins keep them, rather pull out a N$200 note once you reach your destination. If he is desperate, he will say let’s go look for change, but because of the morning rush, he will probably just swear at you and let you off the hook.
– Change your mind – they usually do the route planning once you are inside
– but even though you told him initially that you were going to Katutura Hospital, tell him you don’t want to go there anymore rather he should drop you off at Parkfoods. He will be furious, but don’t worry just smile at him.
– Criticise his driving
– tell him he drives like a madman and he will probably drop you off in the middle of nowhere or he will have an argument. The trick is to get him angry so that he drops you off and you refuse to pay, because he did not take you to your destination. This trick is very common with students. It’s a strategy to get you closer to your destination at no fee. Comes in handy if you are broke.
– Give him less money or pay him with lots of 10-cent coins, equivalent to the normal fee – these guys hate small change.
Be careful though whenever you attempt these tricks. Ensure that you have a Legal Shield policy, the City Police number and a good pair of running shoes, because at times these guys can become unpredictable. Should that happen, don’t say you read this column.