Depending on the day of the week as well as the time of the day, you require a lot of patience to drive through Mthatha on your way through the Transkei to your ultimate destination. There are robots, painted road signs, pavements and everything else you would expect to find in a large town that would enable the smooth flow of pedestrians and vehicles. That should … Mthatha is a little different for it appears that drivers and pedestrians follow rules of their own. While stuck in a queue of vehicles waiting to get through the intersection – which can take up to three robot changes – you would probably have time to leap out and purchase a freshly boiled mealie from a vendor such as this, who has set up her ‘kitchen’ on the pavement.
Do not for a moment think that your passage will be quick and easy. Pedestrians tend to cross the street wherever it is convenient for them – regardless of whether the traffic is moving or not. This not only tries your patience, but forces you to be more alert than you would ever be on a highway!
Once the traffic light has turned green for about the third time, and you have made steady progress at a snail’s pace, do not get your hopes up for vehicles appear from any angle to push their way into the traffic.
A view while you wait for yet another change of traffic lights.
Oops – just when you thought the coast was clear! Those pedestrians appeared out of the blue and the battered taxi is rather close!
Did I mention the jumble of people and traffic?
Nearly an hour later you can relax again on the open road.