Guest Column

Taxi drivers - my heroes

2016-02-25 14:22

WATCH: Fires burn in Joburg CBD protest

2016-02-24 12:03

Watch as protesters burn tyres and block traffic in in central Johannesburg. According to police, Johannesburg Roads Agency employees were behind the protest.WATCH

Lizeka Tandwa

The first two words that come to mind when I think of a taxi driver is rude and insensitive. That pretty much sums up what any average South African feels about their manic driving, their antagonistic attitudes and their overall demeanour on our roads.

So it was quite a shock to the system when two taxi drivers came to my rescue when I found myself in a tense situation on Wednesday

Let me start from the beginning. I am a reporter and as such, my job requires me to enter into uncomfortable and sometimes tense situations with no hesitation. Needless to say, it’s normal for me to cover hostile protests. 

In the usual South African spirit of protests or toyi-toyi, tyres are burnt, roads are barricaded with bricks and bins and the filth always bears testament that a group is displeased by one thing or another. Yesterday was no different...

As I drove behind the orange overalls who were protesting on Johannesburg’s busy streets, I found myself in the middle of a fire storm.

A small group of protesters who had moved away from the toyi-toyi started throwing bricks in my direction. They shouted and threatened to damage my car. In the midst of this fire storm, one man who was walking past the group was hit in the head with a brick.

Trembling with fear, I tried to reverse out but four others from the same group (I assumed) began throwing bricks behind me. I was stuck in the middle of the road, no cops in sight and a group of angry men to contend with.

To my relief, a taxi driver who was witnessing these hooligans, came to my rescue. He drove towards the four men behind me and ordered them to keep moving.

When the other group saw the driver, they started moving down towards us to confront him. In a blink of an eye, another taxi driver had arrived and parked his car in front of the angry men creating a wall. 

The taxi driver behind me moved the bricks out of my way and directed me out of the fiery situation. With emotions heightened I drove, off unable to thank the men. 

To the two men who bravely came to my aid when others decided to remain spectators, I salute you as my heroes for the day. 

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