Vol. 53 No. 1 (2005)
Research Article

A minibus taxi by any other name, would it run as sweet?

Published 2005-06-01



This paper deals with the names of minibus taxis, a common and popular form of public transport in South Africa, particularly in an inner-city context. The data were collected in the Western Cape in the Cape Peninsula (around Cape Town) as well as in some areas of the Eastern Cape.

The names were bestowed by either the taxi owner or members of his family, the driver of the taxi, or by the commuters themselves. Most names are displayed either above the windscreen, on the back of the taxi, or at the door. In a few cases taxis are generally known by a name, although it is not displayed.

The motivation for bestowing a name varies, but some form of identification, commemoration, or a feature of the taxi or its owner, are common categories. The paper discusses these name choices in the minibus taxi industry.


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