Monday, 17 April 2017

Lagos at 50: The Danfo Analysis


Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria is gearing up to celebrate 50 years of existence after being created out of the old western region on May 27, 1967 to become one of the 12 states in Nigeria by General Yakubu Gowon. Home to approximately 21 million people, Lagos is the centre of excellence, a land of opportunities and of the bright yellow buses with black stripes called “Danfo”.

The origin of the word “danfo” is not certain, but research suggests it means ‘hurry’ in Yoruba language. The Danfo is a modified (14 sitter) Volkswagen Transporter (Type2 –T3, 1979 - 1992) bus and transports thousands of Lagosians daily. The Danfo as a cultural heritage is the pride of the NURTW (National Union Of Road Transport Workers), a menace to road management authorities (FRSC, LASTMA) and the bread of the 'Agberos' (Motor park touts) and men in black.



I was born and raised in Lagos and the Danfo became a part of my growing up years after the “real owners” relocated my Dad’s brand new a/c pumping Peugeot 504 pan. Although i prefer riding the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) now, I still ride Danfo till date.

Danfo Expounded:

Recently I got thinking about the Danfo and realized that it is not just a bright yellow moving clunk of metal but also a mobile community that reveals people’s behaviour or temperament and also poses various degrees of risks to the passengers. With the aid of a diagram, i will be revealing the risks, the people and the intriguing social relations in a Danfo.


The Seat, the Person and the Risk:

Strong Man: This is the most luxurious position in the bus. It is “first class” and reserved for strong men/women only. You have to be tenacious, inconsiderate and narcissistically entitled to sit here. It is commonly occupied by members of the armed forces and anyone that has “mind, levels or mouth”. This passenger is at risk from phone snatchers.

Nawa o: This is “business class”, but not very comfortable. This person lost the battle for the strong man’s seat and sometimes has to board by crossing over the strong man who is usually too entitled to move over. The name “nawa o” stems from the passenger's protest at the discomfort from the plenty contacts to his/her knee as the driver changes gear while driving. This passenger is at risk due to the lack of seatbelt.

My Hand: This seat comes with easy boarding and alighting, but it is not very comfortable as Lagosians won’t adjust their bombom for him/her. The seat also comes with the risk of having your hand caught in the door as the strong man or the conductor closes the door. This passenger is at risk from phone/bag snatchers and has a higher propensity to be ejected from the vehicle in the event of a collision.

Suffer-head: This is the “One chance” seat or occasionally the conductor’s seat and causes backache as it doesn’t’ have a backrest. This passenger is usually the last to board. At the park, some passengers will wait patiently for this seat and won’t take another when available except the "strong man's" seat. This seat is the entrance and exit to the middle and back seats; hence this person is a suffer-head for choosing to seat at the door and will alight and board multiple times as the journey progresses. This passenger is also at risk from phone/bag snatchers and also and has a higher propensity to be ejected from the vehicle in the event of a collision.

My Nyash: This passenger is a victim of circumstance as his/her bombom gets caught between the seats metal frame when “suffer-head’s” collapsible seat is raised. RIP to the bombom.

Guilty: Life is not easy for these passengers as they are almost always accused of taking up too much space and making “my hand” and “suffer-head” uncomfortable. Slender or plump, it doesn’t matter as they are always guilty. These passengers are at risk from phone and necklace snatchers.

Stubborn Goat: This passenger is as entitled as the “strong man” and quite a suffer-head too as the propensity for shoes or cloth stain is high. He/she boards and makes it a little difficult for the other back seat passengers to board. I understand sometimes this is because he/she isn’t going very far on the journey, but most times they are just very annoying and troublesome as they seat there till the bus reached the last bus stop and will berate you for "matching" their shoe or staining their cloth.. This passenger is also at risk from phone snatchers too.

And there you have it, my analysis of the Danfo. So, tell me your Danfo experience and which is your preferred seat in the Danfo.

3 comments:

  1. Hahahhahaha...this is such an interesting read. I don't like the front seat even as "prestigious" as they are because I feel I am at a huge risk of dying or being disabled in a bus collision. We really can't trust the driver. I believe it is Go who protects. So even when I'm the first, I like the guilty position. I'm much more comfortable and I get good view from the wind and direct breeze in the time of having to suffer from body odour of other passengers. I would have loved to read about the dramas that occur in these buses everyday. There's a whole lot when it comes to boarding a danfo. You either have a good laugh or you get terribly pisse off or you just can't help but wonder - being in the state of limbo - at people' behaviour. This is a really good read all the same but quite apt when there is more to be digested. We can all relate to this popular Lagos mode of transportation.

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    1. Thanks for your hilarious comment. True, we cant predict how a danfo ride will turn out and true also that our experiences in the Danfo will fill a book.

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