Column Squad

Taxi Memoirs: A Day As An Outlaw


By now you must have figured out that I am a very devoted Christian. Watching me in the throes of the Nicene Creed is indeed a lesson in devotion, so I have been told. In fact it’s a pity that catechism grades don’t make it to our CVs otherwise I would be having one of the top government jobs in this very Christian nation.

I sit on my hands, sleep on my tongue and turn the other cheek as dictated by my Lord and master. However, there is that part of me that once in a while want breaks loose from my Christian restraint, to stick my tongue out at authority and show my middle finger to convention but I don’t, because you see I am a coward who is destined to die many times as decreed by Shakespeare.

But today as I wait for the taxi to fill, I spot a possible leader, the taxi driver with his bowler hat and leather fringed jacket. He looks like someone I could follow if he offered to lead me on my sojourn into rebellion. His metallic spiked boots and the way he prances around like he owns an ocean somewhere further convince me to follow him.

And so we set off and I am not disappointed. He drives like he owns the road; he misses a boda man narrowly, scraps colour off a gleaming new Mercedes and we just move on without waiting for the wrath of the Mercedes owner. We zoom through Nkrumah Road as if we are on an express highway with me egging him on. Just behind Victoria University we meet a completely clogged Station Road but the oncoming side of the road is clear and all other cars are waiting patiently in the sweltering sun. In hindsight, we, I mean the driver and I should have known that this was a trap but we decide to go for it anyway and everything works out as per plan at least for like five seconds. Just behind Kitgum house, two “white devils” appear out of nowhere and intercept us.

The well-fed officers with their shiny boots and gleaming pips sniff around the car and finally ask my leader for his driving permit.  They promptly remove the taxi’s number plate and tell us to leave the vehicle. We scatter on Jinja road like beads from a broken necklace. As I stand waiting for yet another taxi, luggage in hand, my hopes of lawlessness dashed, I realize I have no choice but to return to the fold. I start reciting the Athanasian Creed. The father is God, the son is God and the spirit is God but it’s not that they are three Gods etc. But today my mind is not into it and soon I start fantasizing about that day when I will be a fearless outlaw. I look around trying to spot another leader for my sojourn in vain. I have waited this long and I am determined to wait for however long it takes. I must not give up.

Hey, I am a Ugandan woman who spends a minimum of four hours daily travelling in taxis. Like you, I used to dread the taxi rides until I realized that it is a source of a variety of free entertainment and an interesting study of human nature.