MATATU CULTURE: Kayole Veterans vs Rongai New Kids on the Block
I always say that the Kenyan matatu culture should be categorized as a tourist attraction. The level of ingenuity, workmanship, design and flair of Kenyan matatus (Public transport buses/vans) is second to none in Africa not to mention the world.
Telabang Aka Mwalimu mkuu aka Kenya 1 is back and true to its name its back with a bang. This matatu was the most hyped in recent history coming second to the greatest of all time Brainchild. Matatu fans from the 19-60 (United Kayole) lined up the streets to welcome the big bang belly. This matatu customised by Asila customs features multiple LCD screens including one 32 inch LCD stuck on the rear windscreen facing outside, in the industry this is called “hater vision” and is meant for the haters to watch every time the bus passes by. Also featured are fans for fresh air, unique design and lighting for the cieling BBS offcut rims and a mad sound system which is better experienced in first hand as words alone cannot do it enough justice.
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The return of TELABANG was not well received by people from Rongai aka the 125 aka diaspora. This is due to the fact that it has become a highly profitable route encouraging investors to bring some of the hottest matatus to their route. Because of this, their ego was pumped up and they belittled the veterans from the 19-60. Their newest arrival PHANTOM 808 aka RUSTIC from choda fabricators limited and customised by KEVZ AUTO was overshadowed by the Return of Telabang. During Telabang’s debut, the kayole fans took their ride to the Railways bus terminus which is the stage for Rongai matatus. This was pure flossmode and it achieved its effect as the people from diaspora became green with envy. Their days of talking smack took an indefinite pause as they humbly accepted the return of the 2013 overall matatu of the year winner at the inaugural Nganya awards held at KICC.
Until recently, Rongai’s fleet consisted of worn out , old big buses which made you fall asleep as soon as you stepped in if not, you would eventually do so because of how far rongai is. The matatu culture was virtually no inexistent there. The only reputable ones were the RASHA group of matatus which were slightly pimped up according to the standards then. The onset of minibuses made the route rapidly grow and now there are memorable names in the industry like CATALYST and PHANTOM 808. Kayole on the other hand are veterans in the industry with Greats such as URBAN LEGEND, MGENGE, SOLACE, BAVARIAN, MAYBACH , TELABANG, TELAVISTA.
The Rongai guys make fun of the kayole mathrees calling them ‘lorries’ owing to the fact that most Kayole mathrees are Mitsubishi FH 215 models compared to the Isuzu NQR models of Rongai. Although PHANTOM 808 has a good exterior design, Kayole are kings when it comes to interior design and exterior graffiti. Advice to my Rongai Peeps, Stand up and respect the veterans. You could learn a thing or two.
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