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A Kombi on the road

Kombi is the informal name of minibuses in Zimbabwe. This is usually given to the 18 seater type which are privately owned but used for public transport in the country. They are the most popular form of public transport in Zimbabwe a result of the decline of formal city transport once dominated by government run ZUPCO transport company.

A Kombi used for public usually plys both the local residential suburb to city routes (e.g. Mbare to Harare city centre) and the city to city routes (e.g. Bulawayo to Harare).

See Emergency Taxis.
See Mshika-shika.

When used as public transport the Kombi is usually manned by two people, a driver and a conductor. While the former duty is primarily driving, the latter is in charge of collecting the kombi fare from the passengers, open and close the door when passengers get to their destination or when picking up someone as well as calling out the destination of the vehicle while it's moving through an area so that anyone travelling that route can flag it down. At the terminuses the job of loading the kombi is done by a Hwindi who calls to potential passengers while the Kombi is stationary. The hwindi is paid on the spot for his services once the kombi is full. The driver and conductor however are employees of the Kombi owner and are usually paid as regular employees at day's end, week's end or even month.


In March 2023, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works announced that passengers who are picked up or dropped off at undesignated stations in and around central business districts of towns and cities, will now be liable to US$30 fines. According to Statutory Instrument 41 of 2016 of the Road Traffic (Traffic Signs and Signals) Regulations, local authorities should ensure that signs are erected to prohibit pedestrians from being picked up and dropped off at undesignated points. Zimbabwe Republic Police spokesman Paul Nyathi, said the standard scale of fines gazetted will be enforced on hitchhikers. The fines in the schedule are expressed in United States dollars but payable in the equivalent Zimbabwe dollars at the prevailing interbank rate. [1]

Then in Harare, March 2023, the City of Harare put out the following:


Source of Kombi Name

The name Kombi came from the model name of the VW Kombi a minibus. This was the therefore case of a product brand dominating its category so much the whole category is then named after the product. The brand names Colgate, Coca cola or Cobra (floor polish in ZImbabwe) which have become category names in Zimbabwe.

The most popular kombi model is the Toyota HiAce.

As Mobile Billboards

Kombis are usually used by Zimbabwean companies as mobile billboards. Companies like Econet Wireless Zimbabwe used kombis to advertise their brands such EcoCash extensively in the period between 2012 and 2016.

Kombi Pictures


  1. Passengers Picked Or Dropped At Undesignated Stations To Pay US$30, Pindula, Published: 5 March 2023, Retrieved: 6 March 2023

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