Podas podas: Vehicles of cultural meaning by Marisa Zawacki

Royal Roads MA student Marisa Zawacki researches the symbols of popular culture represented in mini buses are strewn across the sub Saharan Africa from East to West.

The mini buses have special names - in Kenya it is Matatu, in Nigeria – Danfor, Ghana – Tro-tro, Guinea – Magbana and in Sierra Leone – Poda poda.

These are public minibuses which ordinarily are just modes of transportation, but interestingly they are dynamic modes of cultural meaning. The drivers adorn the vehicles with popular cultural expressions in a range of forms, from idolizing their favourite music stars like Madonna, to religious sayings “God is great”, to icons from popular English Premier Teams like Arsenal and Chelsea, to classic American icons like Winnie the Pooh, to political messages about capitalism and corruption.

These symbols of popular culture represent linkages to a number of cultural fields, including music, materialism, globalization, history, colonialism, identity, class, economy, media and technology.

Read the Full Article by Marisa Zawacki here: