Fine young taxi marshals
It’s just after 7am on a Friday morning at the corner of Azalia Street and Dobsonville Road in Dobsonville Gardens, Soweto, opposite Snake Park. Taxi drivers lean on their hooters, their sound systems in competition, roaring the latest R&B and house tracks into the brisk, exhaust-fumed atmosphere.
Energetic young marshals race around shouting out the routes like market wares: “Hello there! Zola! Bara! Dube! Westgate-Roodepoort! Jabulani Mall via terminals! Jo’burg! 5-Sakies!” The right kind of music attracts the right kind of commuters at this time of day—teenagers on their way to school. Some of the taxi marshals at this rank are younger than the school commuters. This is part of a growing trend, partly because of unemployment. The phenomenon has distinct benefits for commuters: the new marshals on the block are polite, informative and helpful—a far cry from the intimidating old-school types—mostly middle-aged Zulu men who specialised in swearing at commuters and wielding sjamboks.
Commuters and taxi drivers seem just as happy with the new marshals.