Lorraine Amollo Ambole
University of Nairobi, Kenya
Deep down, I always knew there was a method to the madness of Nairobi matatus, and now I have the evidence!
Let me start from the beginning: I have lived in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, for more than 30 years. I have spent well over 10 of those years traversing the city using matatus. Matatus are privately owned public service vehicles (PSVs), which are usually 14 or 25 seater vans and minibuses. The word matatu is said to have come from ‘tatu’, which is Swahili for three. Apparently, the first matatus in the 1960s used to charge three cents for a ride.