The main mode of mass transport in Uganda is the matatu (as it is in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania), a minibus which offers a lot of very crammed seats in a small space for a low cost. The name Matatu is derived from the Swahili word ‘Tatu’ meaning ‘three’, a form of transport which costs only three shillings. Nowadays the devaluation of the currency means most journeys cost thousands of shillings, but the name has stuck.
The matatus are renowned for their lack of comfort (well, discounting the pimped-out matatus of Nairobi) and their terrifying driving (wrong way down the road at 100kmph in heavy traffic while on the phone? It must be Monday…). But they take great pains to name themselves attractively, putting a big title on the front or back windscreen, and in some cases both.
My friend Melanie claims the names are written as a sort of charm to protect the occupants of the bus but they can be so insane that I’m not sure what deity they’re trying to appeal to. But here are some of the best:
To Ma Haterz
The Supper Fighter
Straggle for Excellent
Think of Hell Rasta
God Mustard Seed
And for a bonus point, the lorry I saw yesterday on the way home was called “The Appetizer”.