Safety when using a hired cab has shown to be a concern in the past, particularly for women riders. We’ve heard many stories of women being attacked, sexually assaulted and violated in many other ways on their commute in hired cabs such as Ubers, Taxify or even minibus taxis.
Many of these crimes are often perpetrated by men, so it makes sense that many female riders feel more comfortable with a female driver. Unfortunately are few and far in between and Uber and Taxify do not have a functionality that allows one to request a female driver.
Last year Uber had under 5% Uber partner-drivers, hence it is uncommon to get a female driver when requesting a ride. At the time safety was the main concern that would-be drivers cited as a push factor and barrier to entry in the partner-driver market.
Regardless, there are women who are determined enough and have shown that in a predominantly male-dominated industry, they too can rise above the gender stereotypes. We look at five female Uber drivers and give you a glimpse into their lives.
Bongiswa Maqina is from Queenstown Eastern Cape and currently lives in Mfuleni, Cape Town. She is 36 years old and is a very passionate and dedicated woman who draws inspiration from her supportive family. The one thing she loves the most about being a driver-partner is that she is afforded the ability to juggle many things at once, which enables her to prioritise and focus on the things in life that she deems to be important.
Siyamthanda Mahlasela is from Keiskammahoek in the Eastern Cape. She is 33 years of age and currently lives in Blue Downs, Cape Town. She is a loving mother who is motivated to keep going and achieve her dreams by watching her daughter grow up. The funniest trip she has ever been on happened on her birthday when she picked up two ladies and two men. She says upon realising that it was her birthday through small talk, they all proceeded to sing happy birthday to her until they reached their destination.
Babalwa Jama is a 37-year-old woman who was born and raised in the Eastern Cape. She currently lives in Phillipi, Cape Town, and works as a Financial Literacy Trainer when she's not busy driving with Uber. Babalwa is a hard-working mother of two boys who is inspired by meeting and socialising with other individuals that are like-minded as she believes that it inspires creativity. Being someone who is an achiever by nature, Babalwa says being an Uber has given her the opportunity to set and achieve her own goals of being a successful businesswoman.
Zola Mayekiso is 37 years old and hails from Eastern Cape. She currently lives in Cape Town and works solely as a driver-partner. She is a committed young woman who has met many different people from all walks of life in the last four years that she has been a driver-partner. Zola is also a mother and the primary breadwinner in her household and she believes in doing everything she possibly can to provide for her child.
Diana Dube from New Castle in KwaZulu-Natal is 48 years of age and currently resides in Johannesburg. She is a single mother of two boys and has been driving for Uber for four years now. The most memorable thing that has ever happened to her was being named the top female Uber driver-partner in Johannesburg. Diana says that because of this, she was surprised with access to limited exclusive spots for a VIP meet and greet with Barack Obama at the Nelson Mandela Lecture which took place on the 17th of July in 2018 at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Her encounter with Obama was nothing short of amazing and was a dream come true. “As an Uber driver-partner myself, I never thought I would ever be in the same country, let alone the same room as such an iconic man. The surprise was so unexpected and I truly felt so honoured to be given such a life changing experience,” says Diana.