Driving the flag: some thoughts

My car wrapped in the SA flag

It’s been two weeks since I had my car wrapped in the SA flag. I did it because the idea of just plain mirror socks did not match the swell of patriotism I was feeling. So, I managed to get some sponsorships from like-minded small companies (Missing Link, Cerebra, Frog Communications and Print Pot) and made the biggest patriotic statement I could think of.

Driving the flag has been interesting. Seeing people’s reactions has been even more interesting. Here is what I’ve seen …

My car has elicited a range of responses from people on the road. By and large, heads have turned (so much so that I often worry about the accidents that would be caused by the distracted fellow drivers) and looks of shock have been common. I think I’ve also been able to tell how people feel about the (not so) new South Africa: some older folk have pulled their faces up in disgust at me (some also mutter to their wives in the passenger seat), while other get the biggest smile on their face (with accompanying hooting and flashing lights). There are others who cannot understand why I would do such a crazy thing to my car. Granted, I may not understand their stories of pain at the mercy of my beloved country and hence their skepticism.

The traffic light vendors are the funniest. Standing there with flags and mirror socks dangling from every available limb, they see me pull up. Their faces immediately drop with the visible expressions of, “Ag no, now I can’t sell him anything!” That is until they realise my mirrors are not decked out in the flag. The faces then light up as they proceed to try and sell me a set of mirror socks!

And then yesterday, my audacious flag got me out of paying a speeding fine. Hurtling towards Secunda and brown-clad cop stepped out into the road and waved me down. He ambled towards my car (his gut was moving in opposite directions to his legs) with a concerned look on his face. I rolled down my window. He leant on my door. “Hey bru,” he says. “You’re a Bafana supporter. Why are you speeding?” I pleaded guilty as charged. He steps back from the car, adjust his belt and casts an appreciative eye over my car. “Just take it easy bru!” he says and let’s me go ­čśë Bonus!

The flip side of all of this is that the flag keeps me accountable to some of the core aspects of our constitution. Values such as respect and equity have taken on a new meaning. ┬áI’ve found myself feeling the pressure to drive responsibly (ok, yesterday was the exception), not to flip out at palooka’s who drive badly, to tip car car guards and to be courteous at traffic intersections. Having the┬ásymbol┬áso┬áblazingly┬áembossed on my car (which also happens to be an extension of my identity) has changed me, I believe, for the better.

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5 responses to “Driving the flag: some thoughts”

  1. Tracy Todd says:

    Your car, and your attitude to life makes my chest swell with pride. I too, am proudly South African!

    I cannot drive a car but, I CAN drive our flag — on my wheelchair!

    Go Bafana Bafana! Go South Africa! I love you!

  2. Jason says:

    Send your car picture to your insurance, they should lower your rates!

  3. aiden says:

    Tracy, I love YOUR attitude ­čśë

  4. Yariss says:

    .. Beautiful !

  5. Jacqui says:

    Hi Aiden

    I work for 3M and we run the commercial graphics page (vehicle wrapping).
    I was wondering if we could use your image on our Facebook page – we will accredit you in the post too.
    Many thanks
    Jacqui

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