Second Class Taxi
Banned fifty years ago and now republished

This classic satire on apartheid, first published in 1958 by Faber & Faber, was banned by the South African apartheid regime as sedition. Furious someone was making fun of their racist policies, they ordered every copy of the book already sold to be destroyed and gazetted it as "illegal reading". A new generation in Britain, South Africa and the US has grown up unaware of how absurd apartheid truly was and the Nononsense Press considers it is time to republish it for their edification and enjoyment

The story is told through the eyes of "a Non-European from Non-Europe", Staffnurse Phofolo, so named at birth in the traditional way after the hospital staff-nurse who delivered him. He inhabits a concrete drainpipe (a quite illicit dwelling), frequents shebeens, takes part in the Rand bus boycotts and lives in Johannesburg without the requisite permit. He has no permit, in fact, to exist at all!  

Second Class Taxi

What the World Owes Me by Mary Bowes

(both published by the Nononsense Press)

available at

What the critics said:

"I have read a good deal about South Africa during the last few years, but somehow this shortish tale has told me more about apartheid than all the solemn articles I have waded through." J B Priestley

"You will laugh your head off. Laugh so that the taxi will rock over the rude culverts of the township streets. You will feel somewhat sacrilegious for you will know that the things you laugh about so uproariously are dead earnest, doomful indeed." Can Themba Drum 1958

"One of the liveliest books about the pre-Mandela era - a very enjoyable read".
Doris Lessing

"A gay picaresque tale ..... wonderfully authentic". Anthony Sampson

"Projecting his story from the bus boycotts and the tightening pass laws of the 1940s, and the passive resistance campaign of 1951, Stein prophesied the future with astonishing exactness". Christopher Heywood A History of SA Literature 2004
  SYLVESTER STEIN was born in South Africa 25 December, 1920. After serving in the navy during the Second World War he worked as a reporter for the Rand Daily Mail, eventually becoming political editor. He took over the editorship of Drum in 1955, spending the following three years there until political conditions forced him and many of his staff to flee South Africa. He settled in Great Britain in 1957 just before the publication by Fabers of 2nd Class Taxi.

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