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News - Date: 04 June 2018
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Phillip Tshivhandekano became the laughing stock of his class when he told them that he wanted to become a taxi driver after completing his Grade 12 more than 20 years ago.
Today, he is the envy of the taxi industry because of his smart dressing style, exceptional customer-care skills and his outstanding ability to observe the rules of the road.
Tshivhandekano, who stays at Damani village near Khubvi, dresses in a suit every day and puts on a tie to make sure that he is presentable to his passengers, fellow taxi drivers and everyone he comes across. “I have at least 15 suits and countless ties that form part of my everyday wardrobe when I go to work. When you work with people on a daily basis, you must be clean, presentable, approachable and polite. Through my smart dressing style, I want to send a clear message that being a taxi driver is a decent job that everyone can love and enjoy.”
He recalls his school days at Silemale High School in Khubvi: “I still remember when my teacher asked me what I wanted to be during the career guidance period in Grade 12. I proudly told the class that I wanted to become a taxi driver. Everyone laughed at me, but that did not discourage me because I knew that it was going to be my lifelong career. After Grade 12, I went straight into the taxi industry as a driver and I worked hard, saved some money and bought my own taxi.”
Also nicknamed “Bin Laden” because of his long beard, Tshivhandekano says he has also named his taxi Bin Laden, so that his loyal passengers can easily identify it when it approaches them.
“I ferry passengers from Thohoyandou to Musina every day and all passengers want to ride in Bin Laden. If my taxi is full, I advise passengers to take the next one, because I don’t take an overload. I can see they are worried, because everyone wants to ride in my taxi. I have never argued with a passenger in my 20-year career as a taxi driver.”
Tshivhandekano, who personally washes his taxi every evening, says he has never been involved in a road accident for the past 20 years. “I inspect my vehicle every morning before I take my first trip to make sure that everything is in order. I have never skipped service, because I know that a vehicle that carries people should be roadworthy at all times. The vehicle is the only source of my income, so I should take good care of it.”
His message to fellow taxi drivers is: “Let us all dress smartly, treat our passengers with love and service our vehicles regularly, so that other people can take our taxi industry seriously.”
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Smart dresser Phillip Bin Laden Tshivhandekano enjoys his job as taxi driver more than anything else.