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msafi ri 69 The Toyota Land Cruiser – expensive but highly desirable, unless you're trying to park one in a shopping mall in Johannesburg diehards on the other. Well, I'm in the middle here. For comfortable 4WD driving, I'd have to agree with the UN's choice: the Toyota Land Cruiser. It is a very expensive vehicle, but if you can afford one, it is absolutely the best vehicle for driving anywhere in Africa – except for Jo'burg's shopping malls – where it's hellishly diffi cult to park one! The Land Cruiser is comfortable, has a brilliant road-holding capability, great air- con and plenty of room for unexpected extra passengers. It also has Toyota standards of reliability and great access to spare parts across the continent. THE LIFELINE OF AFRICA But one cannot forget Africa's minibuses. They are the cars of the ordinary folk. No matter whether they are choking up the roads in Accra or Cairo, or transporting minibus taxi is the lifeline of Africa. There are so many varieties it is hard to pick out one that stands above all the others, but if I had to choose, I guess it would be shared equally between the Toyota Hiace and the Volkswagen Kombi. It was only in the late 1970s and early 1980s that these started becoming the vehicles of choice for minibus taxis. They revolutionised the way people on the continent lived and worked. Often poorly maintained, and sometimes driven by people with little or no training in public transport, they are all too often a risky means of travelling, but for most Africans there is simply no other choice. They are an African solution to an African problem, that of the vast sprawling growth of the cities in post-colonial Africa. Every day they move tens of other destinations as well. Minibus drivers are virtually a law unto themselves, and a jaunty, cynical humour rules the names of the vehicles painted on the rear windscreens: ' Crazy World', ' God On My Side', ' No Finish Line' or ' Ricochet' are names I once wrote down in a single journey through Mombasa. But for all their chaotic idiosyncrasies, the minibus must be the iconic car of African travel. Every single facet of life is discussed in the cramped confi nes of its worn benches. Birth, death, love, marriage and politics are laid out in the open among their passengers, all day, every day. They are the pulse of the continent and the multitude of faces behind their windows contains all the wisdom and the hope of its future. people from a village in Mali to another one a hundred miles away across the Sahel, the colonial millions to and from work, and to a thousand THE PEUGEOT 404 HANDLES THE POTHOLES AND THE RUTS IN AFRICAN ROADS BETTER THAN ANY OTHER TWO-WHEEL DRIVE SEDAN

msafiri modern 70 PORTFOLIO Kamal Shah