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5 Modes of transport that are part of our South Africa heritage

September is Heritage month and, as a nation always on the move, we thought a fitting way to celebrate would be to look at some of our everyday modes of transport visitors might find quirky.
Written by Jazz Kuschke
3 min readPublished on


Rickshaw in Durban
Rickshaw in Durban
The rickshaw is iconically Durban. The beachfront (Golden Mile) would not be the same without these colourful two-wheeled carts and their drivers. Rickshaws have been a feature in Durban for well over 120 years and, what is today a tourist attraction was initially a primary way of getting around. Back then there were over 2000 registered rickshaw pullers in Durban. Sadly there are only about 20 today but the whole experience still provides a great tourist attraction for locals and visitors alike.


We have our own version of the famous Southeast-Asian ‘micro-taxi’. If you’ve never seen one, think of it as sort of a motorised rickshaw that has three wheels and a canopy roof of sorts (and often not). These tricycles can zip through traffic and are a feature in Rosebank, Melville and Sandton in Jozi. You can also hop on one in the Cape Town City Bowl.

Donkey Cart

A feature of the rural and farming areas of our beautiful country is the traditional donkey cart. In many regions some of the population still relies on this mode of transport to get to town or visit friends and relatives. Because of this the beasts-of-burden are a prized possession and usually highly valued and well looked after. Donkey carts are constructed from any and all types of wheel-base and body and the ride tends to be bumpy. But it is this construction, and in particular the air-filled wheels, that set today’s donkey carts apart from those of yesteryear. Donkeys were used to pull carts long before cars were invented but back then the the wheels were made of iron.

The Taxi

No, you don’t hail a cab in SA, you hop on a minibus. It is the most-used public transport in South Africa with somew 80% of South Africa’s workforce commuting this way. Taxis are often characterised by vibing loud music and cool window art. Once, one even raced a Formula 1 car:
Formula Racing · 3 min
David Coulthard Races a Taxi

The Gusheshe

‘Gusheshe’ is the colloquial term referring to the iconic, box-shaped e30 BMW 325is. The word loosely translates to ‘very fast’. The Gusheshe is deeply rooted in Spinning culture - something that has been happening for over 30 years. “Traditionally it was used as a celebration of life at people’s funerals, and for certain other celebrations and purposes which were beyond the law,” says Vic Pardal, Sportive Director of Red Bull Shay’ iMoto, explaining that while it remains loud and raw and remains true to its roots, spinning has evolved a lot over the past three decades and emerged from its sometimes shadowy connotations to the mainstream motoring scene.
“As long as there have been rear-wheel drive cars in South Africa, people have been spinning cars,” he says. “But spinning is very different today to what someone’s uncle or grandfather was doing years ago in a, let’s say recreation centre parking lot” Vic says. Catch the hottest South African spinners in action on the Red Bull Shay’ iMoto livestream on Saturday 11 September.
Spinning · 28 min
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