Bafana ‘Jackie’ Ngcongwana has been a taxi driver in Duduza, East of Johannesburg for the past ten years. Every morning he wakes up at 4am to get to the taxi rank in time to be first inline to load in passengers. After driving the Duduza-Springs route all day, Ngcongwana only returns home after 10pm. He gets very little sleep.
To combat the yawning and droopy eyes while he’s out on the road, Ngcongwana relies heavily on the aid of sugary drinks.
He says the sugar in the drinks helps him to stay alert.
“It makes me focus on my driving every time I take a sip…I feel that there is something in my stomach, closing that gap of being hungry,” explained Ngcongwana.
Lindie Mosehuus, a dietician at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, warns that while taxi drivers are getting energy from sugary drinks, they aren’t an adequate replacement for nutritious food.
“Sugar sweetened beverages contain a large amount of empty calories – this means it is high in energy without having any nutrients in terms of vitamins and minerals that contribute to our overall wellbeing,” said Mosehuus.
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