Matatu names

names of matatus in KenyaMata­tus are the mini­vans that trans­port peo­ple all over Kenya (and Tan­za­nia). They have some very cre­ative art­work — and names! The first time we lived in Kenya was from 1991–1994. I kept track of some of the names in a lit­tle note­book, which you can see in the photo. (Double-click the photo to see a larger ver­sion of the note­book pages.) There are some great ones, such as: Beauty Options, Bush Poucher, Texas City, and Bison Jnr.

The art­work on the sides of mata­tus (http://mypartofnairobi NULL.blogspot NULL.html ) is uniquely African — and often very cre­ative. (Do a Google image search for “matatu art.”) Matatu own­ers invest in cre­ative art­work to give a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage. Wouldn’t you rather go in a cool matatu than in one with no artwork?

3 thoughts on “Matatu names”

  1. African buses remind me a lit­tle of chivas, the big boxy buses that were com­mon in my child­hood in Colom­bia. You can see some here: (http://roadkill-spatula NULL.xanga

    1. Sorry your com­ment didn’t go live for sev­eral days — because of the link, it got sent to the spam folder.

      Great link — it is inter­est­ing how devel­op­ing world cul­tures some­times diverge.

  2. Brother Bill (http://www says:

    From the time you guys first talked about these, I’ve thought of the Jeep­neys in the Philip­pines, a very sim­i­lar kind of deal.

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