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Until death does us part ... Taxi Lisboa and the old timer

Mon, 7 April 2014 04:06
by Andreas Kathindi

Táxi Lisboa, a movie that recently showed at Windhoek’s Goethe Centre, is a documentary feature film by Portuguese director, Wolf Gaudlitz, about Augusto Macedo who at 93, was the oldest taxi driver in the world at the time.
The film follows the 93-year-old driver around on a normal day’s shift as he takes his patrons around Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal.
Through these encounters, Macedo gets to hear about lives of people from all walks of life, as they head to their various destinations.
Macedo, who became a taxi driver in 1928 at the age of 24, had borrowed money then to buy himself an Oldsmobile Cabriolet, which he drove for over 70 years.
The film was initially released in 1996. Macedo, however, sadly passed away just before its official premiere after succumbing to an undisclosed illness.
Throughout the film, Portuguese screen writer, Vergílio Ferreira, pokes fun at the fact that both Macedo and his vehicle are so old.
Ferreira says, “I don’t know which is older. The AB in the plate must stand for Before Babilon,” (which in Portuguese is ‘Antes de Babilónia’).
Indeed, such cars are a rarity. In the 1960s, General Motors (GM), the American motor company that created Macedo’s Oldsmobile vehicle made a proposal to Macedo, offering him a new car for his Convertible, so it could add it to its collection. Macedo angrily refused the offer.
His love for vintage and antique cars had to be understandable.
Here, the Old Wheeler’s Club of Namibia exists for that very purpose. The organisation has monthly rallies to exhibit such cars, some being Mercedes Benzes and Chevrolets dating back to 1933.
“All the vehicles are fully operational, having been well-preserved and modified. Some were even part of the 1300km drive to and fro the Fish River Canyon in the South during last year’s Day of the Old Wheeler event,” says Christoph Kendzia, a member of the Old Wheeler’s Club.
He explains how he is involved, simply to preserve a piece of history and teach the younger generation about motor technology, which has been around longer than they (youngsters) might think.
Last month, the organisation inaugurated a new N$5m Club House in Olympia, to accommodate an array of classic cars from time immemorial.