New book, The Bus People, explores the lives of everyday bus commuters

Author and activist Chumile Sali. Picture: Supplied

Author and activist Chumile Sali. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 28, 2023


Cape Town - Human rights activist and Parklands resident Chumile Sali has seen his book, The Bus People, published, exploring the lives of everyday bus commuters.

Sali, 41, is an activist based in Cape Town, working in mostly informal settlements advocating for the provision of sanitation services, water, waste collection services as well as safer communities.

He obtained a law degree through the University of the Western Cape and is currently studying towards a Master’s of Laws in Human Rights Law at Unisa.

Sali has been a bus commuter since October 2017. At the same time, he started writing shorter The Bus People stories through posts on Facebook, sharing what transpired during his regular commutes.

Spurred on by encouraging words from Facebook friends and followers, Sali started writing the book in December 2022 in order to further share and document these stories.

The book was published nearly a year later on November 27, 2023, through Uhlanga Books, based in Khayelitsha, with the book formally launched on December 2.

The publication shares experiences of attacks on bus drivers during taxi strikes or bus drivers killed by hit men associated with the taxi industry. It also shows how service delivery protests affect bus commuters.

“The book is a social justice book. Ninety-five percent of the stories are my personal stories. I am documenting the stories of the black working class. I am highlighting the everyday challenges of the domestic workers who are using the bus.

“Their challenges at work. I am highlighting the IsiXhosa process of transporting the deceased from Cape Town to Eastern Cape weekly,” Sali said.

Publisher and founder of Uhlanga Books Zimkitha Macengulashe Zilo said: “The stories in the book are everyday stories that happen in our townships, and most of them go unnoticed because no one writes about them and publishes them in their truest, unfiltered form. The stories are conversation starters; they are thought-provoking and, most of all, relatable.”

The Bus People can be ordered online from, Amazon, or via email at [email protected] or WhatsApp 073 813 1728.

Copies sell for R220, delivery in Cape Town costs R50, and R100 for deliveries outside Cape Town.

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Cape Argus