drive-by
25 October 2016

Two Storks on a Lamppost

text by Thomas Aquilina

The motorbike driver manoeuvres through the traffic which is at a standstill, flouting rules by climbing curbs, and squeezing through space where nobody had ever squeezed through. The driver has a mobile phone pressed against his left ear and the inside of his helmet; he is listening to the news via the phone radio. His style of riding can only be described as freestyle. He overtakes vehicles on the inside and outside, all for a couple thousand shillings.

During a boda-boda ride, time is compressed. There is no delay, no signal-warning failure, no regard for stoplights. Even with my house on a hilltop, the ratatat of a motorbike is never far away. I haven’t had to walk any further than the distance I’d run to catch a bus. My sense of time-and-distance is warped. These maverick drivers are spatial geniuses. And their swiftness is a mismatch with the otherwise laboured pace of citylife in Kampala.

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