Bakkie Rides

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?

expat life Pretoria South Africa highway

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.

expat life Pretoria South Africa highway

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:

expat life Pretoria South Africa highway

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!

Love, Marla

8 thoughts on “Bakkie Rides

  1. Yes! The thrill of it – riding on the tailgate of our Ford station wagon to The Dump – now a huge parking lot, soccer field and intramural sports building all part of the University of Washington campus in Seattle, acreage on the north side of Husky Stadium. Oh, the smells, the gulls, Lake Washington…that freedom.

  2. Ahh evoking memories, you are! I even have a pic from about 1950 of all the kids, including me, who rode to vacation Bible School at Gilgal in the back of Marie McCord’s pickup. A less pleasant memory circa 1985 is of two of my students flying out of one while celebrating graduation. Two funerals that time.
    I don’t often comment here, Marla, but I want you to know how much I enjoy your blog.
    Pretty neat too that I can do so while sitting at the airport waiting for a flight to CA to see our new grandson who is a month old today. Love you, Girl

  3. You totally reminded me of when I was like 7 years old and my dad got a new truck. He took me and some neighbor kids for a ride around the block in the back and it started pouring rain and we all got totally drenched. Kind of a fun memory actually, thanks. 🙂

    1. That’s awesome. And, right!? Even my tumbles out of the back and your rain-soaked adventure were still just that…adventure.
      Thanks for sharing that, Colin.

  4. Sure does bring back a lot of fond memories! (A few not so fond!) But you’re right, never been much of a fan of “legislated morality” 🙁 takes a lot of fun out of life.

    1. Yeah, I get tired of laws to save us from our own “stupidity.” And yes, I say this knowing I may very well one day be one of those idiots who win a Darwin Award.

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