A growing number of women are breaking barriers and creating innovative concepts.
Twenty-three-year-old Saraphina Wambui is one of them. From a young age, Wambui had always dreamt of being a matatu driver. But along the way, her passion evolved and she developed an interest in graphic design.
With a mean grade of C+ from St Teresa’s Girls Secondary School, Wambui, the only woman matatu graphics designer in Nairobi, has worked on 15 vehicles plying the Mathare, Kasarani and Embakasi routes.
She is pursuing a degree in graphic design at the Technical University of Kenya. During the unveiling of a pink matatu at the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi yesterday, Wambui said she chose to pursue the rigorous, but rewarding, journey of entrepreneurship as a way to challenge gender norms and inspire women.
She has faced many struggles and experienced triumphs along the way.
Wambui said men have discriminated against her, but such challenges only motivate her to work harder.
“As an industry that is perceived to be male dominated, some men have harassed me a couple of times trying to bring me down and frustrate my work and the efforts I bring into my job. Others have sidelined me, but I kept on pushing because this is a talent. It is something that I love doing,” she said.
Wambui has designed for five years. She started in Kayole and currently works in Industrial Area. She works with a team of three supportive men.
Wambui charges Sh100,000 to design and Sh400,000 to include rims, interior and exterior design.
She said women are afraid of joining the industry and many become “impatient and are easily discouraged”. The pink matatu that was displayed at the museum courtyard had images of the late Prof Wangari Maathai and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta with words including ‘phenomenal woman’ and ‘bold’.