Here is an interesting viewpoint of a Capetonian’s recent commute to Harare in Khayelitsha. Jen, the author, commuted with a Golden Arrow bus out of Cape Town and returned with a mini-bus taxi. It took her a total commuting time of 5 hours. Cape Town still has many years ahead and a need for serious interventions to make commuting around the city easier, quicker and safer. Thousands of people, living in outlying townships, experience a terrible commute to and from home, be it with Metorail, Golden Arrow or a mini-bus taxi.
Khayelitsha has never seemed far away. It’s 30kms down the N2 and I can drive there in 20 minutes if there’s no traffic. I have friends whose daily commute to work takes them longer than that. I suppose what I’m getting at, is that conceptually, Khayelitsha has always been part of my city.
This week, I went with one of my students to her research site in Harare. We wanted to experiment with different modes of transport to get there, so after some time perusing the Golden Arrow website, we squeezed on a taxi and made our way to the terminus in town. I bought a packet of Niknaks, and sat down next to the window. We were off to a good start. An hour later we were as far as Nyanga. Alfonso, who drives our students to their placements during the school term, says his GPS always triggers off an alarm when he enters Nyanga, letting him and the tracking company know the van has just entered a dangerous area. I get it, it’s dangerous, but hells, it’s also just Nyanga. People live here and love here, go to school, go the bank, sell Tupperware at the terminus.