Deni Brown and Gavin Thompson.
Deni Brown and Gavin Thompson.

End of an era as ‘Mama Taxi’ takes its last ride

By Gavin Thompson Time of article published Dec 14, 2018

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Cape Town - Today the much-loved Mama Taxi cartoon is being published for the last time. The sad farewell is due to the failing health of the cartoon’s author, Deni Brown, whose work has kept Cape Argus readers smiling for more than a decade.

Illustrator Gavin Thompson wrote: 

"As a cartoon illustrator, I worked with Brown. Even the most seasoned taxi drivers would find the South African comic road a tough one, filled with ups and downs, potholes galore, not to mention cops hiding behind every bush. But Brown did all this and more in the 13-odd (and I mean odd) years she was author of the daily comic strip Mama Taxi, something few people ever get to achieve, especially a woman.

It was never an easy road, we had to fight for every “brake” we got.

From the first bite of interest from one of the largest newspapers in the country to having to negotiate hard before walking away and having to wait another year before we got our first break in The Citizen.

I met Brown almost by chance in November 2003 when she was looking for an illustrator to work on some projects. One was a book of quotations, another a children’s story book, but when I saw the rough concept for Mama Taxi, I knew she would be a winner.

From 2005 to 2018, Mama Taxi has negotiated the comic pages of almost every national daily paper both English and Afrikaans, as well as People magazine, and has been used in a number of advertising campaigns.

A book of Mama Taxi strips was published in a collection in 2009.

Deni Brown and Gavin Thompson. Here are some of their cartoons, including this one which is Brown’s favourite.
Deni Brown and Gavin Thompson. Here are some of their cartoons.

In 2014, Brown was diagnosed with breast cancer, but continued to write comic strips throughout. She is an inspiration to myself and many others.

Last year, she created a second comic strip called Girl Talk that followed the story of the main character coping with cancer.

Through the strip, Brown was able to help other people through her own experiences in dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

This year, the PinkDrive published the strip that received an overwhelming response.

Sadly, at the same time, the cancer returned.

Due to her declining health, Brown was no longer able to continue writing the strip and this December will see the last of the nearly 5000 Mama Taxi strips in print, leaving a huge pothole in the comic pages and in our lives.

I will miss the daily grinding of gears, sirens and screeching of brakes, but will be forever grateful to Brown and Mama Taxi for slowing down just long enough to pick me up for the ride.”

Deni Brown and Gavin Thompson. Here are some of their cartoons.
Deni Brown and Gavin Thompson. Here are some of their cartoons.

* Feel free to share your memories of Mama Taxi at: [email protected]


Cape Argus

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