Thursday, 24 April 2014 16:10

Taking a Taxi Ride to the Polls

Written by Ryan Swano
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Taxi Vision on Cape Town TV which is now broadcast nationwide on DSTV channel 263 is currently running a series of discussions and interviews called Election Watch 2014.
If you have never before watched this totally different-from-the-rest TV magazine program and if you have an interest in independent media alternatives instead of what mainstream media feeds us, then you should try taking a Taxi ride along with Soli Philander and his crew.

Unlike a cab or as some call it, a metered taxi, in South Africa a taxi almost always refers to a minibus that carries around 16 passengers with some getting on and some getting off along the route.
A taxi seldom moves along with complete silence from either passengers, the driver or his conductor (you only really get those in Cape Town and they are called a ‘gaartjie’ pronounced ‘gaa-chee’).
Besides what happens in a taxi, there is also of course the view of what happens outside of it.
The diversity of people who use taxis in most cities of South Africa but especially in Cape Town, their quirks, their eccentricities, their issues and also their wisdom, makes for some great insight into the psyche of the nation.
This is what Soli wanted to reflect when he conceptualised and put together the team responsible for both Taxi Radio and Taxi Vision. The show and the online radio channel is the vehicle he chose to deliver a message of goodwill.
He says: “The Taxi is the realization of a dream I didn’t know I had. I have long felt a need for a space to manifest my understanding of community in tandem with others and to express openly my desire for heart’s ease, celebrate love’s power and practice the pursuit of peace.”

This largely self-funded show that is to a lesser extent also made possible by a few companies who advertise on it, is however not just about smiles and sunshine all the time and there is a serious side to it as well.
A topic that surfaces with almost every election and which the Taxi team have no qualms in dealing with in a matter-of-fact way is what can be considered to be the ‘holy grail’ for all political parties who contest for votes in the Western Cape.
The illusive Coloured Vote. A heterogeneous population group that the politicians seldom see as such and mistakenly apply a one-size fits all approach to.
Interviews with political party spokespersons are not harsh and outright gritty in a 3rd Degree fashion but still aims to get to the heart of what these parties offer their potential voters and certainly there is no pussy-footing around the issues that viewers send in as potential questions.

Discussions are also held with those who Soli likes to refer to as ‘independent voices’ on issues that hopefully enable viewers to make informed decisions when casting their ballots without advocating a specific political party. is honoured to be considered one of these independent voices and after our first interview we have been invited to again participate in future episodes of Taxi Vision.

Only two weeks away from the elections and we are sure that the next few episodes of Taxi Vision will be packed with a whole range of opinions on the polls that will reflect the diversity of their viewers as well as their cast of presenters.

Taxi Vision was at first broadcast live on Cape Town TV as both a breakfast show and as a prime-time magazine program.
Via social media and SMS they had a wonderful live interaction with their fast growing audience. However live broadcasting is an expensive exercise and the fact that CTV is a community TV station combined with the lack of long term sponsorship from corporates has meant that Taxi Vision is now a pre-recorded show.
That however doesn’t any bit detract from them being able to continuously maintain a high level of interesting and diverse content. Some level of viewer interaction is also still maintained on social media and there is also an overlap between Taxi radio and the TV show.

On the day that we were on set shooting a discussion around identity, diversity, politics and how that impacts on performance art, there was also the Taxi Money Coach, debt counseling expert Alon Manshon on set to discuss the latest 'Credit Amnesty' and what it really means for people who are indebted. These are only some of what make the content interesting.
Another interesting guest on the day was Andrew Gasnolar who is a lawyer, community activist and now Deputy Spokesperson for Agang SA to discuss Agang's vision for the Western Cape and the Country. The previous week they had Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman as a guest. The list of politicians taking a seat in the taxi is as diverse as the list of parties on the ballot sheet though Soli says that it is quite difficult to actually get someone senior from the DA willing to take a Taxi ride.

Besides all the attention now given to the upcoming elections, Taxi Vision on a weekly basis showcase talented individuals in fields ranging from arts to sports, highlighting the positive work that organisations as well as individuals are doing in their communities, addressing the issues faced by communities in the Cape Peninsula and of course taking politicians to task in an effort to get solutions to those issues.


What holds the show together and seems to endear the viewers is the passion that is almost tangible from the team of presenters. This coupled with a healthy dose of Capetonian humour that seldom overshadows the sobriety of a serious dialogue, often clarifies serious topics which the viewers would have found tedious if those topics were to be discussed on any other show.
There is also a high level of compassion from the presenters when dealing with sensitive issues as they are all from the very communities which Taxi Vision and Taxi Radio serve.
They have struck a great balance between having a blast of fun while addressing the serious issues that other programs so easily sweep under a carpet.

Taxi Vision now also has a spin-off TV show called The Vanity Case that deals with Fashion in Cape Town, the trends, the people who set those trends and more particularly those who contribute to this city being an international design hotspot, but who do not always get the mainstream recognition for it. The Vanity Case is almost always broadcast immediately after Taxi Vision.

Just like, Taxi Vision is constantly addressing serious issues but likewise it is always foremost a platform for celebrating the good, the precious and the outstanding accomplishments of what otherwise are quite ordinary people that we all can relate to; Ordinary people who happen to do extraordinary things.

We at urge you to keep watching and in every possible way keep supporting Taxi Vision as well as stream Taxi Radio, not only to sometimes in future get to see or hear us as guests but to really get your fingers on the pulse of Cape Town and its beautiful people.

Though Taxi vision is usually broadcast on a Wednesday at 6:00PM with repeats on a Thursday morning and Saturday evening, please check the Cape Town TV listings for exact broadcast times as these are subject to change.
To find out more about the show and its presenters visit or see their Facebook page.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.