When Ziphozonke Lushaba met DYZ and told him what I wanted to do, he laughed. “You have to be joking,” he said. “Why would you want to? Do you know how many young kids die doing this?” When he realised that Ziphozonke was serious, he said, Zipho would first have to learn the language. “There are many different styles. Matrix, 2020, Svandals. The one we’re going to do is Sbhujwa kuphela.” Trainsurfing or staffriding is a “game” that involves youngsters who dance on the roof of a moving train while avoiding electrocution from the overhead cables. To an outsider, staffriding is pretty daft, as it increases one’s chances of dying young. But there’s an element of macabre grace about it. As the train starts moving, the staffrider’s mates hold the door open for him as he starts running alongside the train, his feet making a rhythmic tap-taptap sound on the platform.
Sometimes, as the train starts moving, he jumps in, and then out, in… and out… just for fun.