Nigeria: The Day They Banned The Mammy Wagons

The roads are lined with their rusting skeletons. Birds in the surrounding bush fall silent when they pass, and drivers of lesser vehicles pull over to the side in terror. In all of West Africa there is no more frightening sight than a herd of wide-open mammy wagons, stuffed to the rafters with merchants, housewives, babies, calabashes and live chickens, careening toward the next town at full stampede.

Hope & Challenge. Nor is there any more common sight. Mammy wagons, named for the bright-robed market women who ride them and driven by tough freewheelers appropriately known as "maulers," are West...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!