Historically, a tonga was a sort of large horse-drawn taxi, but the same term is applied to these amazing three-wheel taxi/bus vehicles which are loosely based on the old Harley-Davidson ServiCar. Instead of an American V-twin, most today are powered by a single-cylinder hand-start diesel: very noisy, very slow, and very dirty. When they are very, very heavily loaded -- and no-one has the talent for overloading like an Indian -- it is not unusual for a small boy to be stationed on the front mudguard (fender) to keep the wheel on the ground.

last updated: 23/01/05

© 2005 Roger W. Hicks