Anna Nyaboke, a 62-year-old resident of Kisii County in Kenya, has emerged as a trailblazer in the male-dominated Boda Boda business, challenging the norms and stereotypes of the industry.
As the sole female boda boda operator in the entire Bonchari constituency, Nyaboke has been involved in this business for three years. However, her ventures into male-dominated sectors are not limited to boda boda operations. She previously worked as a bicycle taxi driver in Nandi hills and later transitioned to pulling a hand cart, locally known as mkokoteni.
Nyaboke has also worked as a casual laborer at various construction sites in Nairobi, Eldoret, Nyamira, and Kisii. Despite facing numerous challenges, she expressed her love for her work. However, being a female boda boda operator has not been an easy journey, as she often encounters criticism and derogatory remarks due to her age and gender.
She revealed, “The major challenge I face as a female boda boda operator is being insulted and looked down upon by male riders. They claim that I am too old to be in this industry and should instead rely on my children for support. They believe I shouldn’t be riding alongside them. However, I persevere despite their opinions.”
Despite the hurdles, Nyaboke remains determined, aiming to inspire other women, particularly those involved in illegal activities such as brewing illicit alcohol, to transition to legal livelihoods.
“I want unemployed women to learn from my example. I am an elderly woman who dared to challenge societal norms, hoping to inspire others,” she emphasized.
In addition to her work, Nyaboke selflessly supports orphans and homeless young women, uplifting their spirits and motivating them not to give up. Her efforts were recognized during this year’s Mother’s Day celebration by May Arati, the wife of Kisii Governor Simba Aati, acknowledging her significant contributions.
Anna Nyaboke’s unwavering determination and her pursuit to break gender barriers in the Boda Boda business serve as an inspiration, encouraging women to pursue their dreams and overcome societal stereotypes.