Cape Town - For 28-year-old Asavela Siphunzi from eNdlovini in Khayelitsha, being one of five women motorcycle delivery riders from the area is a dangerous but fun and satisfying job.
With her rented motorcycle, and her ultimate goal of owning her own logistics company, Siphuzi delivers beverages and small packages in the metro and Stellenbosch area, under what she says are unfavourable circumstances, while without fail being looked down on by her male counterparts, who dominate the industry.
“My negative experiences at my previous job had inspired me to do something for myself. The reality is that there are no jobs for the youth and this forces one to be creative in finding ways to sustain oneself.
“There is so much we can do if we can dip deep within ourselves. If one takes a stroll in our communities, we realise that there is always something that needs to be done and that takes inventiveness and determination to see a business opportunity,” she said.
However, the mother of two said the job came with its own challenges, which include patriarchy and safety.
“When I started out in Somerset West, I was robbed and the motorcycle was damaged. There are also challenging working hours because we mostly operate in Stellenbosch and have to take into consideration that we still have to travel back to our homes in Khayelitsha, which at times is late and not safe.
“Working in a male-dominated industry always shocks people, but I think they are now warming up to it as I am not the only one. We are trying to show women that this is not a man's world and that women can do the same jobs and tasks efficiently.
“While I have received mixed reactions from my community, I know for sure that I am inspiring and paving the way for those young girls to grow up knowing that there is no work that is gender-based and that they go for whatever they set their heart to,” she said.
Siphunzi said her short-term goal was to work towards purchasing her own motorcycle and ultimately a fleet where she would be able to train and offer job opportunities for other women.
Asavela’s proud mother, Nomthetho, implored the government to work on interventions to ensure that communities were safe to run businesses, “not only like hers but for anyone who runs a business where their safety is compromised”.