About a month ago we decided on a team building event for our staff. As we have a close working relationship between the professional staff and the caregivers and domestic workers, we decided to combine two worlds.
We were to travel first in a minibus taxi from the workplace to the Gautrain station in Hatfield Pretoria and then the Gautrain to Sandton in Johannesburg. In preparation our colleagues taught us the necessary handsigns for the minibus taxi ride and we had lots of fun practising. Needless to say, the taxi ride was quite an experience to those of us who have never before tried this mode of transport.
Likewise the Gautrain proved an exhilarating experience to all. I chose to join our cleaning lady, a wonderful childlike woman and was bombarded by questions, remarks and lots of anxiousness along the way, such as : “ will it fall over, why is the train wobbling, it is going too fast and in the tunnels, it is too dark I can’t see!’
To me,the stark contrast between the minibus taxi with its friendly driver and the sleek modern Gautrain with its disembodied voice announcing departures and arrivals, represents our modern day South Africa, with one foot in the third world and the other in the first world. I hope we will one day be able to bridge this divide.