Minibus taxi hand signs

more than a year ago
Every day thousands of hands stretch out along commuter routes across Gauteng, communicating silently with the drivers of minibus taxis. A raised index finger indicates you are headed to the city centre; turn your hand palm upwards and curl your fingers around an invisible fruit, and your destination changes to the informal settlement of Orange Farm.

This ingenious system was developed during the apartheid era by black commuters, who had to travel long distances to and from work without easy access to transport.

Johannesburg artist Susan Woolf has documented what is arguably South Africa’s 12th official language in her books and exhibition, Taxi Hand Signs: Symbolic Landscapes of Public Culture.

The easiest way to test the system is to ride a minibus taxi to the city centre, and the best way to understand it without the handbook is to ask other commuters.


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Mona, to buy taxi hand sign artwork, contact the artist directly through her website -
Irene Simpson
Johannesburg, Gauteng
only in South Africa and I love it!!
Johannesburg In Your Pocket
Hi Mona, You can buy books of Susan Woolf's taxi hand sign drawings at the 1886 Boutique in Maboneng, as well as printed tea towels etc. Also look out for hand sign paintings upstairs at Maboneng's Market On Main on Sundays
Please, where can you buy pictures of the taxi signs?
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