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nairobi stories 2: rashid

January 31, 2011


Traffic is problem in Nairobi. Matatu’s are often blamed for the chaos, but to some extent, most matatu drivers have more road sense that the everday motorist, that is my opinion. It is one of the few places that when the traffic lights turn red, all vehicles start moving.
Fares are governed by rush hour and mode of transport. Depending on what time you are travelling, fares can be average or shoot up to three times the regular amount. The painting ‘rashid’ depicts a standard bus stop or stage. The stages resemble auction rooms where the makangas [fare collecters] shout out the price to be paid for a journey while the passengers eagerly await for a bargain or a reasonable price. When the price is right, there is a mad rush to enter the vehicle, and if it is not, there is a stand off between passengers,matatu drivers and makanga’s. It is at times better to walk than to stand around or get caught in the traffic. Eventually the matatus, city hoppers and buses get full, but not after much haggling and waiting about.

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