World Father’s Day: The heroes behind the minibus, transporting the nation
As families around the world celebrate their fathers on the 19th of June, we salute the many fathers who work tirelessly in the minibus taxi industry, as drivers, queue marshals and mechanics, among many roles.
Minibus taxi drivers are often criticised for their reckless driving habits, causing much frustration for fellow road users. However, a study by occupational therapist Dr Lee Randall, indicates that poot driving for any driver on the road is closely linked to working conditions that are less than ideal.
In her study, Dr Randall revealed how many minibus taxi drivers work at least six days a week, around 15 hours a day, with no overtime pay, or even UIF. The drivers have to cover costs for their own fuel, driving permits, licences, vehicle cleaning and minor repairs, which may leave very little remaining in terms of wages.
In spite of the challenges they may face in their working days, there have been many heartwarming stories of minibus taxi drivers and Taxipreneurs who have stepped up within their communities and taken action to fill the gap when a need for father figure arose. One such story is that of Carolina Taxi Association in Mpumalanga who in June 2021 issued a notice that announced that they would veer against the industry norm by reducing minibus taxi fares by 50%, from R10 to R5, for school going children.
At a time when childrens’ education was vulnerable to the impact of the lockdown conditions, the fathers in the association took the bold decision to provide relief to their young commuters even it if came at a cost to them.
This Father’s Day, let’s celebrate the dads who transport the nation – their role in the lives of their children is so important. The presence of a loving father greatly increases a child’s chances of success, confidence, resilience, physical and mental well-being.
In the words of Walter M. Schirra,
“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.”