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I Used To Feel Ashamed – 34-year-old Female Conductor With Beards

Theresia Mumbi

Theresia Mumbi | NairobiWire

Women are generally known to spot hairless faces when it comes to facial hair but 34-year-old Theresia Mumbi does not enjoy this.

The Nairobi based mother of one who works as a matatu conductor (matatus are privately owned minibuses) recently opened up on the struggles of having a beard in an interview with BBC.

In her chat with the BBC, she disclosed that she has had a lot of hair since her school days.

“I saw having a lot of hair as a normal thing and it didn’t bother me that much,” she said.

At first, she tried shaving off her facial hair when she noticed it was growing but this only made the beard grow back faster so she decided to stop shaving it altogether.

“I found it hard hiding my facial hair by shaving every time. I grew tired and decided to stop shaving altogether.”

Her decision, however, was met with ridicule, stares, and name-calling.

She further reveals that she started job hunting in 2005 after she completed her high school and got a job working as a waitress in a city hotel at the time.

Theresia Mumbi

Theresia Mumbi | NairobiWire

Things were easy for her at work as the customers were used to her beard but the story was not the same once she stepped outside her workplace. She usually encountered ridicule.

“When at home, I never left the house during the day. I would wait till dark to go to shops to buy food. Even though I had no issues at work, I used to feel ashamed of my neighbours gossiping about my beard,” said Mumbi.

She also narrated an unforgettable encounter she had at the hands of police while working as a matatu tout.

After failing to pay Sh400 bribe to the cops, she was arrested and locked up with other female remandees. However, a policewoman started questioning her gender and ordered her to strip.

“We are not sure about your gender and we suspect that you might be a man, so we would like to frisk you to ascertain your gender,” Mumbi was told.

This experience she said made her question God on why she was created with a beard. The ridicule has also given her suicidal thoughts but she says her 7-year-old son gave her a reason to live.

Mumbi reveals that at a point, she decided to seek medical help for her condition and was informed that it was caused by hormonal imbalance.

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