Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yep, that's me on the most efficient mode of public transport [after the matatu] in Kenya. Called a boda boda, this motorcycle taxi [also known as a piki piki when not commodified] is a life saver since matatus will only take you so far. Then once you want to go off the beaten path and you don't have the luxury of owning, renting or borrowing a car, nor do you want to walk forever [as i did around Nairobi in 2009-2010], then nothing can be better than a boda boda. And yes, i have been accused of being quite 'cozy' with my driver, but hey, who wouldn't be grateful to get a lift to some long-distanced destination. In this instance, i am just leaving Paa ya Paa Art Center off the Kiambu Road. Paa ya Paa people are Elimo and Phillda Njau and it's the first indigenous-owned and established art center in Kenya. Okay, Elimo is a Tanzanian by birth and came to kenya via Uganda and Makerere University, but his first wife Rebekah was a Kenyan and his contribution to the Kenyan cultural scene is immense and indisputable, despite some neo-colonial forces trying to erase him from Kenyan history! Not possible, especially as i have written about him extensively in my doctoral dissertation called: Globalizing Kenyan Cultural: Jua Kali and the Transformation of Contemporary Kenyan Art: 1960-2010. And just a footnote: the boda boda first appeared at the border between Uganda and Kenya, and it initially was a term that referred to a bicycle taxi used by riders to help travelers get across the no-man's land that exists between the two countries. Sometime in the early 21st century, the bicycle became a motorbike, and sometime around the same time, the motorized two wheeled taxi was taken up by Kenyan jua kali entrepreneurs who saw there was a need and thus a market for its services. I love boda bodas, as you can see from the photo!

No comments:

Post a Comment