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Nairobi Matatu mayhem gone ‘splendid’ (Video)



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Moving discos, ‘moving museums’ and ‘matatu menace’ are some of the phrases used to describe Nairobi matatus  and the culture at large in Kenya’s capital city.

These privately owned shared-ride minibuses form the bulk of public transportation.

They exhibit colorful artwork on their exterior and interior, announcing their presence with thunderous music as they hustle their way through traffic in the Kenyan capital.

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Matatus operate along a specific route, complete with government-designated numbers to identify them. Each has a crew of two; a driver and a conductor.

The latter are like stewards, with different functions, they charge passengers and signal the driver when to pick up or drop off passengers. Pick up and drop off points are called stages.

Nairobi Matatu.

Not everything that glitters is gold as the saying goes and appearances weren’t enough.

The crew’s performance has to match the look of their rides. They achieve this by driving fast and knowing all the back routes to evade traffic.

If a bottleneck is unavoidable, then the drivers need to know how to weave in and out of the road by driving on the shoulder of the road. This practice is known as ‘overlapping’.

Unsurprisingly, knowing how to get out of trouble with traffic police is a key skill for matatu drivers. On top of all this, the crew (driver and conductor) have to be fashionable.

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Nairobi Matatu culture is loved and loathed in equal measure.

For visitors and the older generation, they represent nothing short of mayhem while to the urban youth, they are an identity.

In the recent days many nasty scenes have been witnessed in the sector from rowdy touts pushing passengers from moving vehicles over little disagreements to posing dangerously on the vehicles.

Transport CS Macharia and Interior CS Matiang’i have in the past put measures to crack down on rogue elements in the sector.

It seems the stringent measures put in place are not bearing any fruits.

Watch some pure ‘madness’ below;


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