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Taxi Drivers And Display Of Flags 

By Charlotte Ndumbe* — At one time, it was more fashionable to have graffiti on one’s car, but the recent trend is for drivers to display flags in their vehicles. A flag is a symbol of a particular country or organisation and its appearance anywhere represents the dominion of the country in question. The increased display of flags in taxis, especially foreign flags, has left many curious persons asking questions as to the importance of such flags.

Taxi drivers, car owners and even businessmen especially in Buea, capital of the Southwest Region, have, of recent, cultivated the habit of keeping flags in their cars. Naturally, when people have the flag of their country in the cars, offices or houses, they are seen to be patriotic. When the flags are many, observers are only left to guess.

The recent phenomenon raises eye brows and causes one to question the motive. Why would anyone keep the flag of another country in his or her car?  The Post, however, learnt that majority of those who display such flags do it out of ignorance. Ferdinand Ebai, a Buea-based taxi driver, who has three flags displayed in his taxi, says: “The Cameroon flag which is the first on top of my dashboard signifies the love I have for my country.

The next flag is that of Equatorial Guinea, where I got money to buy this car, while the Brazilian flag always reminds me of the company I used to work for while in Equatorial Guinea. Each of these flags symbolises something great in my life”. Another taxi driver, Fred Elad, says: “I love Cameroon, my fatherland, and that is my reason for buying and sticking a flag on the dashboard of my car. The other flag represents FC Barcelona; I am a fan of football and I love this team with passion.”

However, about five taxi drivers responding to the issue said the flags merely serve as decoration to their cars. It also beautifies and adds value to their taxi, they averred. Some of the taxi drivers said they do not even know why they are displaying the flags. Others display the flags because of the esteem they have for the country’s flag.

“I just love the country,” says Eyong Agbor, concerning the American flag in his car.  Also, passengers expressed how they feel about these flags when they get into taxis. Herman Ajang, a passenger, said: “When I see the Cameroon flag in a taxi, I feel proud and have that feeling of belonging to my country, but I see the flags of other countries as decoration and the diverse mind of the driver”.

Although many people express their love for the flags and their symbols, others do not even know what it is and some simply do not take note of the presence of the flags. Another passenger whose only name The Post got as Vera, says she doesn’t have time to look at what is in front of her in the car. “So, I don’t know what it is all about”.

Roland Matando, a police officer at the Molyko police station, said when he sees a flag in a taxi driver’s car, especially the Cameroon flag, he honours it and sees the driver as a patriotic citizen. Whatever the reason for this new orientation, it still remains a great concern as many patriotic Cameroonians are still very sceptical about the issue. According to some, instead of displaying foreign flags in one’s car, people should display but the flag of the country to which they belong and promote love for the fatherland.

*(UB Journalism Student On Internship)

First published in The Post print edition no 01459

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