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‘Toothless Cindy’ raps on buses for a living…

69-year-old Marlene Alfonso has become a musical sensation on Colombian public transport. Alfonso work on Bogota’s public bus system every day, to make ends meet. She calls herself ‘Toothless Cindy’ or ‘Cindy sin Dientes’ in Spanish as most of her teeth are missing and she can’t afford the false ones.

She sings while riding on a bus packed with commuters heading downtown, with comical lyrics and unusual attire as a rapper has helped her to stand out. She has become an inspiration for a group of migrants that has been mostly welcomed in Colombia, however, have suffered from discrimination and xenophobic attacks recently.

Alfonso said that she was already performing for tips in her hometown before she arrived in Bogota. She worked mostly on subway cars, where her shows earned her an invitation to a local television program. She moved to Colombia two years ago, because rapping in Venezuela’s subways no longer helped her to make ends meet. She further said she can make about $8 a day from tips on Bogota’s Transmilenio which is enough to pay rent and send some money home to her daughter.


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