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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

How SADC truckers use ‘baboons’ to drive for them while they sleep

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So you might have heard that some drivers in SADC use baboons to drive for them when they are fatigued and wondered if it was really true.

Imagine trusting a baboon to drive for you while you sleep behind it. It surely must have gone through thorough training for you to trust it like that.

A baboon driving is actually not a myth but a very old adage which has been confused by many people who are not well-versed with the trucking lingo this side of the world. And, it’s not even juju.

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For your own information, these baboons benefit more by being used by truck drivers, there is no exploitation whatsoever.

It is just that the payment is not monetary neither is it bananas but something more valuable, a lifetime investment if I can call it.

The practice is fading now with the introduction of cameras as the professional truckers fear their secret would be exposed and cause them to lose their jobs.

To confuse you more, or instead, help you understand, I was a baboon before I became a professional truck driver, I don’t regret it at all.

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In fact, professional truckers who were once baboons, tend to become the best in the field.

If you think it’s a myth that a baboon can drive a truck, you will soon understand how professional truck drivers have made it possible to get baboons to drive for them.

Before you lose your patience, I will dive straight into explaining how it is a myth or not after making you understand how it all started.

Baboons are widely considered as our half-brothers, only having a few differences to separate us.

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A baboon, with proper training, can act like a human being – this is where it started – a learner trucker if trained well, will drive professionally like you and me.

A baboon, in SADC trucking lingo, is actually an untrained individual who desires to be a trucker but has neither experience nor the resources to be one.

He works his way up the ladder starting with menial tasks, like cooking for the driver, washing his clothes, rolling up the tent and other work.

It was purposefully designed to be a mysterious practice as employers didn’t have to know about this baboon. So, a driver would go for thousands of kilometres without sleeping – so the employer thought, while in fact a learner driver was pushing for him.

Read also: Driver found sleeping on the steering after crashing truck on N2 near Mkhuze

When the employer asks the trucker why he didn’t sleep or how he managed to drive that long, he would simply tell him, “I have my baboon who drives for me while I’m sleeping”

Some employers treated it as a joke that so much so that when you delayed they would ask where your baboon was.

The experienced trucker takes the risk of using the company’s truck to train the novice, so when he is sleeping while the novice drives, he will be enjoying the fruit of his labour.

I babooned for my brother doing long-distance driving around South Africa, by the time I got a job I already knew a lot of places which made my job much easier.

I did not get a cent for all the hours I helped him but got the experience which was and remains a crucial requirement for any truck driving job.

To round it all up, baboons cannot drive but when truckers say they have one, they mean they have a helper and it’s usually someone who is learning.

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