For the second year in a row, Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport Councillor Christine Walters on Friday 17 October “outpaced, outwitted and outclassed” other participants in the Kasi-to-Kasi Challenge to retain the title she won last year.
The challenge forms part of activities lined up to celebrate Transport Month in the City.
This year’s theme, “Ecomobility”, encouraged Johannesburg residents to avoid using motorised transport as much as possible to negotiate their way around the concrete jungle as the City continues to chart the way to a car-free environment in line with its Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (GDS 2040).
The Kasi-to-Kasi Challenge is modelled around the highly successful Amazing Race TV reality show in which participants are given clues and challenged to look for places of interest in foreign countries within a certain time limit.
In the Kasi-to-Kasi Challenge, 10 teams of six – including Metrobus, Rea Vaya and Putco bus drivers, as well as metered taxi drivers and tour operators – are given cash, T-shirts and clues and asked to visit places of interest using public transport.
MMC Walters’ team let their takkies do the talking. They first popped into the Workers’ Museum and the SAB Centenary Centre in the Newtown Precinct. Later, they took a nine-minute Gautrain ride from Johannesburg Station to Rosebank.
From Rosebank they hopped into a minibus taxi to Parktown, where they had to look for clues at the Johannesburg Zoo. After that they took another taxi ride - this time to the Noord Street taxi rank.
They later got into a Rea Vaya bus to Braamfontein to visit the Wits Origin Centre.
“I didn’t know that the late struggle veteran Charlotte Maxeke had a house in Kliptown,” exclaimed Tebogo Mogoshoa, MMC Walters’ Stakeholder Liaison Officer, before the team went to Walter Sisulu Square, where the Freedom Charter was adopted in 1955.
The victorious team also visited the popular Hector Pietersen Memorial in Orlando West and Soweto TV studios in the iconic Vilakazi Street, where two Nobel Peace laureates – Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the late former President Nelson Mandela – once lived.
“It’s worth noting that 60% of the city’s residents use public transport to commute to work and school. The Kasi-to-Kasi Challenge is really about taking people out of their comfort zones and asking them to use public transport to experience how the majority of our people travel.
“It is also important that we include bus and taxi drivers so they, too, can experience how it feels to be on the receiving end as commuters,” Cllr Walters said.
“Through the billions of rands that the city is spending on the Corridors of Freedom to bring the residents closer to places of work and play, we are saying that public transport is the way to go. Let’s give our cars a break and get into a far healthier habit of walking.
“But the experience was also an eye-opener for the participants, who found places of interest that are steeped in history right on our doorsteps.”
“Now that my team has retained its title, there’s talk to extend the challenge and make it a city-to-city challenge next year. All my team is saying is: ‘Bring it on!’
“The whole challenge talks to how street-smart you are, how you can negotiate with taxi operators and how to seek bargains,” MMC Walters said before tucking into her lunch at the Sofiatown restaurant in Newtown at 1pm sharp – three hours after