Indira Maharaj in her taxi, awaiting her turn to transport passengers from Phoenix to Verulam.
It was after years of yearning to be self-reliant that 58-year-old Indira Maharaj took to the driver’s seat and started driving taxis.
Maharaj had been driving taxis on and off for 20 years before she permanently started driving for three years.
“I had been relieving drivers who took a day or two off to renew their PDP licenses, recover from flu or had to attend to personal issues. I relieved the drivers for about 20 years. It was about three years ago that I took to the wheel permanently,” Maharaj said.
The determined woman said she wanted to be self-governed.
“I wanted to be independent. I didn’t want to depend on someone else and that’s when I decided to take the wheel. It was not easy but it was worth my self-reliance,” she proudly stated.
Maharaj’s fighting spirit prepared her for the curve balls that awaited her.
“Like any other journey, I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but I knew that my purpose was large enough to carry me through my adversity,” she said.
ALSO READ: Inanda woman- a pioneer in the taxi industry
Leaving the house at 3am every day, permitted Maharaj to renovate and extend a part of her house. “I was able to open a bank account, save and use my savings to better my home and upskill myself,” Maharaj said.
She does not only wear one hat but several others. The mother of six, not only broke the stereotype around women not being able to drive taxis, but as well as women repairing vehicles.
“Whenever our taxi broke down, I would get annoyed at the money being spent on mechanics. The day I went underneath my taxi, with my tools in hand and attired in overalls was the day I saved thousands of rands. I now get down and do any repairs that need to be done,” Maharaj said.
“Having my children witness me break stereotypes has moulded them to look beyond the kitchen being a woman’s playground and cars just for men to enjoy,” Maharaj expressed.
The newly engaged taxi driver encouraged women to never limit themselves because of fear.
“We should question stereotypes against women. If a man can do it, so can a woman. Anything a man can do a woman can do with so much care and nurture,” Maharaj concluded.