It’s the season for ibigori (maize cobs), and it also happens to be the season for police swoops on errant taxi motos.
What this means is that it is not the best time in which to wave down that man in a helmet and Tigo apron, especially when there are twegeranes and mini buses doing the city rounds.
And who needs a twegerane ride, especially since they still insist on squashing four passengers where there should be three? Of course some people do, which is the very reason you still see them on the road.
It would seem that the twegerane and minibus belong in two different worlds all together. Each has got its own unique and distinct style, character and identity.
You know you are going to board a minibus when you begin to see such names as; Virunga Express, Matunda, Sotra Tours, Stella, and Belevedere Lines skirting the upper end of the car’s windscreen. Like the minibuses themselves, the names have something corporate-ish, or at least civil about them.
The twegerane, on the other hand, have got their own naming system. If you start to see names like Miss Jojo, Jay Polly, Urban Boyz, Tupac, Sean Paul, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Che Guevara, Arsenal, Old Trafford, Drogba, and Wayne Rooney printed on it in colorful and playful fonts, you have seen a twegerane.
Usually, the driver and conductor of a twegerane can be easily mistaken for up-and-coming local rappers. They fancy tight-fitting hip hop wear, a bit of the bling bling, and the general disposition of someone who loves the gym.
The twegerane conductors are good at heckling travelers, especially at busy junctions like the Chez Lando stage, but more so, at Sonatubes, where the ever so strict cops are further down the road.
Chez Lando being the coolest bus stage in Kigali, is more closely watched by the ever dutiful cops, who are just a stone’s throw away. At Sonatubes, where the cops are further down the road, the twegerane boys exhibit their true character. The bold ones will corner you off tactfully, and “advise” you to ignore the minibus, telling you of how it takes ages to fill up, and how it does not blare out “serious music”.
Talking of music, I’m made to understand that there are some Kigali youths who take preference to a particular twegerane on account of the type of music it blares out, and the footballer/football team/musician after which it is named. When they chance on it, they take a fun ride around town until such a time when their taxi money runs out.
And for all those nice pimp jobs and graffiti on the twegeranes, the credits have to be handed to the notorious car pimps in Nyamirambo mu Biryogo. Big ups!