Thursday, 11 September 2008

Elsie the Rickshaw Man


Yesterday Afternoon after attending a meeting at Durban beach front, while walking back to my car I was approached by a gentleman named Elsie who enquired as to whether I would be interested in a purchasing rickshaw ride. After politely declining his offer we ended up having a conversation which proved to be very informative.

First up, for those who may not know, a rickshaw is a two wheel cart powered by man. Rickshaws were first brought to Durban in 1893 by sugar magnate Sir Marshall Campbell as a gift for his wife, who at the time required a mode of transport. Today they are a tourist attraction run by the Zulu population, and have been adopted as part of their heritage and culture.

He explained to me that it’s his own business and that the cart does belong to him. Each cart has its own unique number, his is Rickshaw No 4, and there are a set of laws that the operators are obliged to adhere to. It is essentially regulated with the rules stated on the back of the cart, along with a contact number that customers are encouraged to call to report any misconduct.

Elsie didn’t really seem to know too much about the internet; he did however get very excited at the prospect of gaining some exposure. Although his is a business where people generally don’t make appointments, it’s more targeted at passers-buy, he did however give me a contact number, so if it’s a rickshaw ride you are after, give him a call on 082 399 1261, or go down to Durban beach front and ask for Rickshaw No 4.

Photo, courtesy of www.superstock.com

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