Public urban spaces

Minibus taxis - Johannesburg's informal transport industry

Photographer Lerato Maduna took to Johannesburg's major taxi ranks where she documented the daily life of taxi drivers.

Use lift clubs © Lerato Maduna
Use lift clubs © Lerato Maduna

Mobility is a prerequisite for any city to function. So how do people who cannot afford a private car get to where they need to be in a city as sprawled out as Johannesburg, where public transport fails to efficiently connect the various commercial centers and residential areas?

Every day, thousands of so-called minibus taxis haul passengers across town along the major traffic routes. The cityscape is characterised by mostly white Toyota Quantum buses or alternatively colourfully painted minibuses of other makes, adorned with bumper stickers and easily identifiable as taxis by their reckless driving style. Minibus taxis have established themselves as a commonly used option to public transport means such as metro buses, trains or the ultramodern but expensive Gautrain. The taxi industry creates a large amount of informal jobs, including auxiliary services such as street vendors, also referred to as hawkers.

Photographer Lerato Maduna took a closer look at Johannesburg‘s major taxi ranks Bree, Noord and Wondrous where she spoke to taxi drivers about their daily lives.

A long busy day at the taxi rank
Queue marshals, informal traders and rude passengers - a day at a taxi rankQueue marshals, street vendors and rude passengers - a day at a taxi rank
Lerato Maduna is a freelance photographer from Johannesburg. She documented Johannesburgs informal taxi industry for this feature.

Written by Lerato Maduna and Miriam Daepp

Copyright: Goethe-Institut South Africa, Internet editor
April 2013

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