Although it’s illegal in many states of America, riding in the back of pickup trucks (called Bakkies) is not illegal here in South Africa.
I remember riding in the bed of trucks when I was a kid. It’s still one of my favorite memories of childhood. Usually we would get yelled at to sit in the bed instead of on the edge but that was always a better place to sit, so you could see, feel and experience the ride, and enjoy the thrill of learning to balance without falling out.
I fell out more than once, but I was also the biggest risk taker, often standing or letting my arms go, trying to ride out a pothole or hill climb. And we were never going so fast that it was more than just getting momentarily blacked out, or having your breath knocked out of you. I know, I know, you might be thinking those knocks unconscious might explain a lot, but really, where’s the fun in childhood if you don’t feel that you actually survived it?
For the most part, bakkie rides here are simply a common mode of transportation for a lot of the region’s workers. And there’s certainly no fun in being huddled together, bundled against the wind at 5a.m. in the middle of winter.
I’ve gotten used to seeing people openly riding the beds of these trucks in the two months since we moved here, but I thought you might enjoy a little glimpse of this, especially if you live in one of the states where it’s been banned for more years than you might remember.
And not all bakkie riders are going to/from work. We came across this friendly fella’ on our way back from The Cradle last weekend:
I understand the need for seatbelts and open bed laws in the states, especially as it relates to children. But I also miss the days when, instead of being saved from ourselves, it was legal to take what risks we wanted, accept our consequences, and maybe taste a bit of that open air thrill again.
I hope you have a beautiful weekend, readers!