Breaking gender stereotypes

2018-05-15 06:00
Nompumelelo Gumede, popularly known as Sisteri (sister) at the taxi rank.PHOTO: phindile shozi

Nompumelelo Gumede, popularly known as Sisteri (sister) at the taxi rank.PHOTO: phindile shozi

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THERE are no limitations on what kind of work a woman can embark on, and Highway taxi driver, Nompumelelo “Sisteri” Gumede can attest to this.

Gumede has been driving taxis for three years, in and around the Hillcrest and Pinetown areas.

Gumede said that the journey has not been easy, but she could not give into the pressure because she did not want to prove her male colleagues right as they believe that a “woman’s place is in the kitchen”.

“After seeing that there are no job opportunities in the rural areas, I couldn’t take it anymore, which is when I decided to approach the taxi owners here and ask for a job. They first turned me down as they assumed that I was hoping to work at the office,” said Gumede.

Gumede said that after she had told them that she wants to drive taxis, their shock expressions were priceless.

“They asked me if I knew how to drive and that’s when I took out my driver’s license and professional driving permit.

“They just couldn’t believe how organised and committed I was,” said Gumede.

“I was called after two days to come for a test, three taxi owners hopped in as passengers and I was told to drive to Molweni and come back.”

Even though the owners had doubted her ability to be a taxi driver, Gumede was hired.

Gumede said that passengers tried to take advantage of her because she was a female.

“They would jump into the taxi and after I’ve driven a distance, they would tell me that they are short of money.”

Eventually, she learned how to handle those kinds of people and now, they respect her and they always commend her driving.

“I had to toughen up if I wanted to be taken seriously in the taxi industry because these people were doing this without thinking about the consequences that I will face when I have to cash-up,” said Gumede.

Gumede’s future goals are to drive trucks long distances.

“I’m currently working towards getting my Code 14 licence as I want to drive trucks and prove that women are able to do anything they put their mind to.”

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