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Imagine this:


Armscor is calling for tenders for its surplus Buffels- those tree-flattening, mine - resistant, bullet-proof armoured troop carriers. they can race over a hill and dale like anything and negotiate roads even as potholed as Houghton's without difficulty.
My friend, Togetherness Tshabalala, the demon taxi driver of Diepsloot,
persauded Armscor to let him test-drive one with a view to converting it to a taxi.
All things concidered, the vehicle stood up quite well after a day on the Soweto run even though its designers had never envisaged it being subjected to such rigourous treatment.
The Buffel seats 12 but (to Armscor's amazement) Togetherness has managed to squeeze 57 people into one without any of them suffering more than the
occasional lapse into unconsiousness. He found the Buffel  had superb airconditioning in that it had no roof- just roll bars.
As Togetherness  roared down Jeppe St and did his usual four- wheel drift into Kazerne taxi rank, a casual observer might have thought an army task force had arrived. More alert observers would have spotted Togetherness's
The windowless Buffel has armoured-plated sides with gun rests. The driver sits in a bullet-proof one-man cab.
Hopewell Zwani, Togetherness's rear gunner, was ecstatic about it. For instance, on the N1 through Robertsham, they had passed Thuka Radebe, Togetherness's arch-rival driving his 100-dent Toyota Hi-Ace with BMW hubcaps.
When Thuka saw Togetherness at the wheel of an armoured car his eyeballs left their parent sockets. Thuka fired a couple of friendly shots in Togetherness's direction and was amazed to see the slugs flatten against the glass and slide off as harmlessly as raindrops. But when a burst of return fire came from the side of
Togetherness's strange taxi, Thuka was not  amazed, he was gob-smacked - he was so taken aback he went straight through the barrier and into Sam Ferreira's
vegetable patch for the second time in a week.
The great thing about driving a Buffel, said Togetherness, was that one could travel "as the crow flies" because the vehicle can go through concrete walls, people's gardens and across bare veld, and it can shoulder aside traffic. It cut 2km off the Diepsloot route. And when Togetherness shot through red lights he recieved enormous respect from cross-traffic.
"I want to buy one," he told me,"but the government is bound to overrule the sale because every taxi owner will want one and the sight of convoys of armoured vehicles roaring in and out of towns will be mis-interpreted by tourists.
"In any event I'd be bidding against the heist gangs and even the cops won't be able to outbid those guys."
Togetherness's experience was not wasted, though. Next day his Toyota had a new sign - FULLY AIRCONDITIONED. he had removed the roof and installed


(Thanks Ivan)