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A yellow-uniformed zemidjan in Cotonou.
More than 400 kg of rice loaded on a zemidjan in Cotonou.

A zémidjan (or zem) is a type of taxi found in Benin.[1] The highest concentration is found in the largest city, Cotonou, where there are an estimated 72,000.[2] Zémidjans are motorcycles that carry one to two passengers for short distances in towns. The fares are entirely negotiable. The drivers wear uniforms that are color-coded by city and have registration numbers on the back. The name derives from the Fon language where zémidjan means "get me there fast" or "take me quickly".[1][3]

The way to call a zémidjan is "kekeno", a word derived from the Fon language. 'Keke' means motorcycle and 'no' means the 'owner of': kekeno thus literally means 'owner of motorcycle'. The zémidjan typically stops by and the passenger and driver negotiate the price, depending on the final destination. The minimum rate is 100FCFA.

A movie called Dreamcycles by Nelson Roubert was made about the kekenos of Tevisodji Park.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pacholl, Natalie (2005-01-04). "Benin Guide - Motorcycles and Bush Taxis - Benin, West Africa". Bootsnall Travel Network. Retrieved 2007-09-30.
  2. ^ Joachim, Gbetoho M. (2003-12-17). "Air Pollution And Respiratory Diseases In African Big Cities: The Case Of Cotonou In Benin" (PDF). Gbetoho M. Joachim. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
  3. ^ "Motorcycle taxi drivers hit the streets of Cotonou with AIDS prevention messages". USAID Benin. Archived from the original on March 14, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-30.