Taxi ‘soapie’ massive hit

Thulani Gqirana

FORGET Diary of a Mad Black Woman. It is Diary of a Kasi Taxi-Driver that has thousands of Nelson Mandela Bay township Facebookers glued to their phones as they follow the story of Skhumbuzo Faleni, a taxi driver trying to get a handle on making money, loving his girlfriend Molly who has cancer, and dealing with the complications in his family.

The interactive Facebook page, created by KwaMagxaki telesales consultant Thabang Machona, has gained almost 3000 likes in just two weeks.

Faleni is a township taxi driver in love with a rich girl who is pregnant with his first child.

The 25-year-old Machona started Diary of a Kasi Taxi-Driver because, as a commuter, he spends a lot of time in taxis.

“You always find people complaining about how bad the driving is or how the music is too loud but no one seems to ever ask the drivers how they are doing, just to get their perspective,” he said.

“So I just decided to tell a story from the taxi driver’s side. I made it as realistic as possible, with the door conductor who is also a foreign national adding a bit of spice to the story. And there are people who will relate to the girl who falls in love with a guy who is from an underprivileged family.”

The former Linkside High pupil said he had asked his girlfriend to come up with a name that would suit a taxi driver.

“And that’s how Skhumbuzo ‘Skhura’ Faleni was born, the troubled young man who is right now dealing with the reality of his brother Sthembiso coming home from jail, on top of everything else. I give all the characters in this little story full names so that it is as realistic as possible.”

The highly articulate Machona said he never thought his Facebook ramblings would be this popular in such a short time.

“I could not believe it when, within a week, the page passed the 1000 mark. I only introduced Molly the girlfriend after we passed that mark to keep things interesting in Skhura’s life.”

Machona says the story, which he writes as he goes along, is inspired by everyday life in the townships and the interesting things he sees taxi drivers doing.

He tries to keep things interesting for his township followers by mentioning people they might know or places they hang out.

“Places like Ngqoko’s, Gqalane, Patidos and Cubana where they hang out. So the page followers get excited because they know that place.”

Machona, who admits to being a bit addicted to soapies and watches them religiously even if he thinks they are bad, said he worked hard to tone down the English in the story to make it more believable.

“It’s actually quite hard because I speak English all day and have to make sure that what I write is not fluent all the time.”

Machona says for Faleni, whom he describes as the Rambo of this story because he always prevails, there is trouble brewing in the next few chapters.

“His relationship is troubled.”

Machona, who updates his story every day, loves writing it so the good news for fans is that there is no end in sight just yet.

“There is still so much to say. It’s now got a life of its own.”

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