Krap on the trains

Taking the train every day you see a lot of interesting things. Some of the graffiti is most interesting indeed. I spend a lot of time looking at it, smirking, and taking surreptitious photos, leading a lot of people to believe I am a creep. Who cares? I’m not the only one. Graffiti comes from the Italian word graffiato, which means ‘scratched’. The Afrikaans word for scratch is ‘krap’. The English word for what a lot of this graffiti is, is ‘crap’. It’s all nicely summed up in my first picture.

‘Julle ma se poeste. Waarvoor krap julle so op die f…ken trein, nou maak julle my ook krap. [indecipherable signature] STOP IT.’

I appreciate the author’s (artist’s?) use of ellipsis. It’s as it they were so overcome with anger that they felt an uncontrollable urge to tell people not to do something … by doing it themselves – but they held onto their sense of propriety.

You can click on the picture for a closer look. It pretty much sums up the whole Metrorail experience. Nothing runs properly, and everyone is miserable. Miserable staff make the passengers miserable. Miserable passengers make the staff miserable. And old, dysfunctional trains make the staff and passengers dysfunctional.

Usually simply expressed thus:

So you see, impotent rage is expressed by writing phallocentric messages with a metaphorical penis. Which brings neatly us to our next picture, a lovely portrait of a lady.

What’s that? You can’t spot the lady? Here’s a closer look.

Forgot to mention she has her beau with her.

The thing I find amusing about this is that it’s clearly drawn by someone in Std 8 who has chosen Biology as one of their six subjects. Those intestinal legs were almost certainly inspired by something like this.

Then you get the budding artists, who won’t let textbook depictions of their junk get in the way of shock value. I give you, The Penis at Rest:

Don’t you love the way it’s just sort of perched there on the join between wall and roof? That tag in a different colour pen also makes me wonder … is that the artist’s signature or has this masterpiece been fraudulently claimed by a passerby? All I know is that if I had had MY kokis with me you would see a great big JENNIFER right there.

I’d write it really clearly too, not like this guy:

YOU CAN CALL ME [indecipherable]

The next one is probably my favourite. I know I should keep the best for last but I’m afraid that by now most of you have stopped reading anyway. If you’re still here but nodding off, this outta wake you up a bit:

Hey … look at that – is that a …


So ja. Not sure if there’s much more to add here. Sometimes it’s a bit more creative. There’s this, which was actually pretty funny:


I seem to remember the middle label was ‘GAY’. I always make sure I don’t sit on those seats. Someone might take a picture of me and put it on the Internet.

Sometimes things get a bit more cerebral. Still funny though. I remember seeing one bit of writing that went something like, ‘The working class will never improve their situation BECAUSE WHY capitalists will always make them consumers‘ …

I didn’t get a picture of that, but here’s an example of the more philosophical stuff:

I’m not going to comment on this; it’s not my area of expertise and I don’t want to get in trouble. I like the palimpsestiness of it, though. It’s like one of those works of art where people just keep adding stuff. What is that called? Or did I just make it up?

This next one’s a little more poignant. I’m not sure exactly what this poor oke is trying to say, but I feel sad for him.

‘I want my stuff back jerk asso. Worst thing is my key fellas.’

My interpretation is that this guy (who I’m guessing is in his early teens) was interrupted while trying to tell us that his key fellas took his stuff. What jerk assos! That’s all I’ve collected so far. I’ll leave you with some authorised Metrorail artwork that is more offensive than anything I have shown you in this post, even if I do agree 100% with its message.

A train with freckles? No wonder people are still chucking chip packets out of the windows

Author: ProjectJennifer

Project Jennifer was one of the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations of the Cold War at a cost of about $800 million ($3.6 billion in 2012 dollars).

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