oa Alternation - Public transport in Durban: Indian privilege versus African empowerment - process and perceptions

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Public transport in South Africa has been visibly transformed since radical changes began after the first democratic general election in April 1994. This can be especially noticed in the taxi industry, which is now dominating the transport of commuters throughout the country. The opportunities in this industry are widely seen as a spontaneous facilitator in the post-apartheid state's drive towards creating an African middle-class. The quality and neatness of the vehicles and the participants' enthusiasm to aggressively compete in the market, bears testimony to the industry's thriving performance. Under such competitive conditions in a country that was divided along racial lines. the dynamics of public transport operations ought to manifest the history of racial divisions in taxi transport. This paper attempts to contextualise the need for research in this area and it retraces the history of public transport in Durban among Indians and Africans. The archival and literary research for this paper is complemented by fieldwork with commuters. residents in several Indian dominated suburbs in Durban and Indian bus and taxi owners. The interviewees formed part of a group of 255 people whose information was used for a larger project. Information from at least 50 of the 255 was used for this analysis.

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