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Eating words and Indigestion The world speaks to me and swallowing its words gives me indigestion, so i tell all its secrets

When Parliamentarians pick up Hikers

BOTSWANA | Monday, 10 October 2011 | Views [571]

Good sense has taught me to boot luck and fate into a locked closet labeled ‘for the happy-go-lucky misfits’, somewhere in the back of my mind. Luck and fate I believe, are tools often abused, much like the name of God by agnostics whose state of affairs are ‘out of the blue’, tangled beyond mortal aid. If the odds are stacked against you, that’s it, live with that and try something else. You can call me a realist.

Travelling by public transport in Botswana, Particularly in Tlokweng, an ‘urban-village’ right on the border of the Capital City Gaborone, my realism ideals were sprung to the winds faster than the speed our taxi was going at. I found myself calling the name of god and wishing for a lucky miracle aboard a rage of wheels that surely had us all hovering over instant extinction. My taxi of choice overtook dangerously, travelled at an unlawful speed and barely waited for robots ‘to say go’, as it sped off to the main Tlokweng-Gaborone Road. I was reminded of the movie Taxi and I knew trouble was brewing. I could swear the life expectancy of all those that take taxis in this road are reduced by at least a decade!

The Tlokweng-gaborone road is one of the roads in Gaborone City whose slow construction is making it difficult for prudent driving especially during the mad rush hours. Our Combi got wedged in the middle of sluggish traffic, with cars kissing each others backsides.

The driver swerved out, drove on the pavement, precariously a strand away from the vehicles snailing on the road. A delirious wail from an aged passenger elicited a snarling inaudible retort from him amid the now frantic voices in the Combi. We shoved, twisted and twirled back into the traffic, our heads banging against each other, until our Schumacher was assured that we were now in perfect tandem with the rest of the cars. With my heart in my throat, I put a death grip on the opposite seat’s back rest. I might never know when I would need the grip!

The need to move around places surpasses safety when one does not have a private motor vehicle to go about. To some people like my friend, owning a private vehicle at the blink of an eye, needs a carefully orchestrated plan, nothing else. Taxis and heart-wrenching moments be damned! ‘The plan is simple’, he told me, ‘become a parliamentarian’. That is the only job where one is guaranteed a luxury car and a lavish lifestyle as a perk. Being a parliamentarian does not depend on any set qualifications and my being a university graduate, I stand a good stead of making it in the trade, I was told. That is the plan…To execute it he told me, he gave away all his fancy clothes to the poor families in his home village whose name I cannot spell. He went into grannies’ yards just to greet and ask whether he should fetch water from the communal tap for them. Even better, he influenced his aunts to give the grannies collecting pension, lifts back home; all in his name of course. The Aunts also gave lifts to the grannies children who work in Chinese-owned stores in the village and think they are better than public transport. They are of course not to be blamed for such feelings. While doing all this he asked to officiate at funerals all over the village. Before long he became renowned for his love for ‘the common man’. He now sits in high places and has all a man can wish for; a majestic fleet of cars included. It is even possible that he owned the very same Combi I was travelling in. Good senses…

Go! Go! Go! Go! Our driver chanted like an exorcist, shaking me out of whatever false safety net he had lulled me into. His collar veins strained against his weathered skin as a female driver dawdled in front of him. Vroom! He went into the pavement again and thank God just before us lay a Bus Stop. I paid my fare and hailed lifts…With luck on my side, I could just run into a parliamentarian wannabe on a humanitarian motive…

Tags: botswana, gaborone, public transport, tlokweng

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