A 36 year-old Anne Nderezina is one of the few women who are redefining stereotypical gender roles by becoming a truck driver, a trade that is dominated by men.
Nderezina who works for Logistics for Sub-Sahara, a South Africa based company drives a 30 tonne cross boarder truck from South Africa to a number of that include Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Kenya.
She said being a truck driver is a not for the feint hearted and not an easy task for women saying she decided to but she had to take up the challenge because she had to provide for her family.
“Truck driving is not an easy job especially for women, it is a male dominated space but I had to take up the challenge because I have a family to feed. I have to put food on the table work I had been doing wasn’t paying enough for me to provide for the family,” said Nderezina.
Nderezina said she started driving trucks in 2016 having been a hairdresser for some time. She left it and opted to be a truck driver which she said pays more and is now earning a better living than before.
“I joined the industry by choice, I chose a profession that earns more than what I was earning from the hair dressing. I am earning good from this job and I am able to send my two kids to school as well as taking good care of my parents,” said Nderezina.
She however said, though she was earning more from the job, it is associated with a number challenges that mainly emanates from it being male dominated.
“Financially the industry is good, however, it is male dominated and is associated with a number of challenges like sexual harassment and bullying. Most men bully women to get served first when we are in queues at offloading bays. Another challenge is that men try to take advantage of us women, at the offloading bays because in most cases I will be the only women there. Instead of respecting and treating me as a workmate, most men ask for sex instead.
She also said most offloading bays are not user friendly for women since they were designed to suit only men.
“Most of the offloading bays have male facilities and rarely do you find one with female ones. In most cases I find it difficult to bath because the showering rooms are just a one open space making it difficult for me to take mine at the same time with my male counterparts. To bath i have to make sure that there is a no one in the bathroom and take a quick one.
The situation forces me to skip a bath sometimes because the bathrooms maybe occupied for the entire time I will be at a certain place or sometimes I will be forced to fork out money from my pocket to get a shower at a lodge.
She lamented the time she spend on the road, which she said takes away most of her time to fulfil other motherly duties.
We take two weeks to a month on the road and that is not ideal for a married women especially in our patriarchal society. This situation has contributed collapse of my marriage because my husband and my in-laws didn’t understand that the time I spend away from home I will be working.
“At first, even my family where I come from did not support me because they too believed the job was meant for men. However with time my family accepted and are now supporting me all the way through,” said Nderezina.