By Memory Chamisa
The locomotive industry has since its inception always been seen as a preserve for males but unknown to many, some female high flyers have over the years managed to penetrate this seemingly male dominated industry.
Meet Zimbabwe’s first female train driver Pertunia Mangoti.
For 15 years she has plied the Harare –Mutare, Harare Chinhoyi and the Harare Lion’s den route , she is part of the women in history who decided to break into the male bastion of the locomotive industry making her Zimbabwe’s first female train driver ,ushering the other seven who followed in her footsteps years later.
I have always wanted to do things that men do because i am a persistent person,
I love the terrains and curves of the railway.
The journey however has not been rosy for Mangoti as some men feel threatened by her presence in the industry.
I have endured hell because of my male counterparts, sometimes I am discriminated against , i have seen it all from sexual harassment, name calling, abusive language,disrespect you name it.
Mangoti’s husband and her two children are the cheerleaders who have kept her going.
My family has been the source of my strength and determination to soldier on.
Whether male or female, accidents are part and parcel of the job.
One day the train engines gave up on me and the train derailed .I thought i was going to die but by the Grace of God i survived.
She has carved a niche for herself in the locomotive industry and will forever be known as Zimbabwe’s first female train driver.