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Infographic: Joburg by taxi – a practical guide

first_imgGetting around Joburg on a minibus taxi can be daunting for newbies. But once you know your short right from your after robot, and your Diepsloot from your Orange Farm, it’s the fastest, most popular and often the cheapest way to get where you want to go.      Minibus taxis are by far the most popular – and are often the cheapest – form of public transport in South Africa, used mainly by the urban and rural poor. (Image: Brand South Africa)Ray MaotaMinibus taxis are by far the most popular – and are often the cheapest – form of public transport in South Africa, used mainly by the urban and rural poor.In Johannesburg, using a taxi can be bewildering, if you are not from the city of gold. Here’s a quick guide to ease your way.To board a taxi in Joburg, you must first get to the right taxi rank. Here, hundreds of minibus taxis converge to ferry commuters to their various destinations in and out of Gauteng province, and even across the border to neighbouring countries.The Johannesburg CBD has four major taxi ranks, at Noord Street, Bree Street, Wanderers and the Faraday market.Noord Street is by far the largest and busiest rank in the middle of the city. As you approach the rank, especially during peak hours, you are swarmed by hordes of hurrying commuters. You are also confronted by hawkers peddling a variety of goods, ranging from foodstuff to clothing and anything else in-between.The taxi ranks are the easiest part of your journey to navigate as there is signage. You stand in queues to board a taxi to your destination. It’s when you are not at a taxi rank that you have to be fluent in taxi sign language. There are no written signs. It’s all done by a complicated series of hand signals. And South African minibus taxis stop wherever they are needed along whatever road they are driving. They do not have designated stops; you simply have to flag one down – using the correct hand signal, of course.Click graphic for a larger view:A language like no otherEvery day thousands of hands stretch out along commuter routes across Gauteng speaking a silent language of taxi hand signals. According to artist Susan Woolf, taxi hand signs are a shared language, learned by imitation and word of mouth.Woolf is a recognised expert in Gauteng taxi hand signs, or what is really the Gauteng dialect of what has been called South Africa’s 12th official language. She spent many years of research and artistic production focusing on the signals, documenting and deciphering them. Along the way, she has created a lexicon for blind people to comfortably use this mode of transport.“They are basic gestures tied to narrative threads that swirl through community life connecting today with history and folklore,” says Woolf.They are complex, she adds. They often have an indexical aspect in that they “point to” the place to which they refer and often use the gestural shape of a pointing finger, or a finger or hand in motion towards the place indicated. But some of the signs have iconic features of resemblance, such as the shape of the orange for T Junction, Orange Farm or KwaThema, all places in Gauteng; others have symbolic arbitrary, purely conventional qualities.Signs and destinationsAccording to Woolf, a taxi hand sign may refer to a place that has retained its indigenous name but it may just as easily refer to an event associated with it, or a physical attribute of the place, or even a shopping mall that is the main feature of a place.There are two basic signs that commuters in Johannesburg. One is the index figure pointing up, which means town; the other is the index figure pointing down, meaning local. This takes you anywhere within the suburb you are in.The KwaThema taxi hand sign is performed showing two flat hands, palms together, resting on the left side of the person’s face.The taxi hand sign to Kliptown is one hand waving left to right in front of their faces and the other hand waves up and down, to ask the taxi to slow down.The sign to Orange Farm is directly descriptive of its name. With a forward pointing hand, all four fingers and the thumb are bent upwards as if to hold an orange.The taxi sign to Diepsloot is acted out with one hand in a sequence of hand postures, dipping downwards and then upwards in a forward movement several times.If you want to get to Fourways, in Johannesburg, just hold up your hand with four fingers exposed and your thumb tucked in.Taxi lingoBut it’s not only the hand signals that are important. There are also phrases you’ll need to understand, such as “short right”, “short left”, “after robot” and “dankie”.They might sound confusing but they are literal meanings of where the passenger wants to alight.Short right means you want to get off at the next street to the right and vice-versa with short left.After robot means you want to get off after the next traffic light the taxi goes through.Here, or dankie, which actually means “thank you” in Afrikaans, has been the subject of many squabbles between driver and passenger. Many taxi drivers feel it’s too ambiguous. They prefer a passenger to be specific, for example “after robot”.last_img read more

5. Piketon farmer’s ingenuity scores him a U.S. patent

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest One hot summer of dealing with the task of connecting his old 330 John Deere hay baler’s driveshaft to the PTO of his John Deere 6230 was quite enough for 80-year-old Roy Noel. As Noel was working on his rolling-hill farm in Pike County, he came up with a solution for this painstaking chore and a handy tool worthy of a U.S. patent.last_img

FIFA World Cup 2014: Five key players from Japan

first_imgKeisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa will be crucial for Japan in the World CupKeisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa will be called on to play key roles as Japan attempts to reach the next level at the World Cup.Honda is slowly adjusting to life at AC Milan while Kagawa has seen limited playing time under David Moyes at Manchester United, but both have been effective for the national team under coach Alberto Zaccheroni.Japan surprised critics in 2010 by advancing past the group stage with wins over Cameroon and Denmark before losing on penalties to Paraguay in the knockout stage.Japan’s team this year will feature many young players and Zaccheroni will be counting on Honda and Kagawa for leadership.Here are five players to watch:KEISUKE HONDAWidely regarded as Japan’s best player, Keisuke Honda scored in a 1-1 draw with Australia in June to secure the country’s fifth straight World Cup appearance.Brash and confident, the 27-year-old AC Milan attacking midfielder said Japan won’t be intimidated by any opposition in Brazil.He set up two goals in Japan’s 4-2 win over New Zealand in a friendly in March playing in his preferred central position.Honda is off to a slow start at AC Milan, where coach Clarence Seedorf has been using him on the right side or as a defensive midfielder.SHINJI KAGAWADespite struggling to find his form under David Moyes during Manchester United’s troubled season, Shinji Kagawa has been a major contributor to Japan’s qualifying campaign.advertisementKagawa scored twice in the friendly win over New Zealand, proving that his lack of playing time at Old Trafford hasn’t slowed him down.The 25-year-old midfielder scored 21 goals over two seasons with Borussia Dortmund. And on March 2, 2013, Kagawa scored three times for United in a 4-0 home win over Norwich to become the first Asian player to score a hat trick in a Premier League match.SHINJI OKAZAKIJapan’s top striker, Shinji Okazaki has scored 11 goals in 24 games for German club Mainz this season.The 27-year-old forward moved to Stuttgart in 2011 and scored 10 goals across two seasons before his transfer to Mainz.Okazaki scored the only goal in Japan’s 1-0 win over Argentina in an international friendly, its first ever win over the 1978 and 1986 World Cup champions.Okazaki’s 35 international goals make him Japan’s fourth-highest scorer of all time.YOICHIRO KAKITANIConsidered by many to be Japan’s future star, 24-year-old midfielder Yoichiro Kakitani scored 21 goals in 34 games for Cerezo Osaka last season and added four goals for the national team in 2013 as an attacking midfielder for coach Alberto Zaccheroni.Kakitani has drawn comparisons with Shinji Kagawa, who also played for Cerezo.A strong performance in Brazil could garner more interest from clubs in Europe.YUTO NAGATOMOYuto Nagatomo joined Inter Milan in January 2011 from Cesena and has been an integral member of the back four since then.The speedy 27-year-old left back has made 18 league appearances for Inter this season while scoring five goals.A regular member of the national team, Nagatomo has played in 63 games for Japan with three goals.last_img read more