Black woman on a bike? Leave your stereotypes at the door
Pam Nyandeni always makes an entrance. Wearing all black, her leather jacket emblazoned with badges and her name spelled out across the back, she cuts a striking image. But before her outfit, it’s the distinctive sound accompanying her arrival that captures the attention of onlookers and passersby. A black, female biker, she’s breaking stereotypes with every rev.
Nyandeni is a member of Kasi Riders, one of the first black township riding clubs based in Khayelitsha. The club was established in 2012 to challenge perceptions in the townships about motorbiking, as well as change the image of biking groups around South Africa. Currently, Nyandeni is the only woman in a team of 17 men. But the group don’t discriminate. They’re open to anyone with a bike and a love for adventure. “I’ve never been made to feel different in the club,” Nyandeni says. “When we get onto our bikes, we’re all just bikers.”
The interest in biking – as more than just a mode of transport – is growing in Khayelitsha, thanks to this group. When they’re not ripping through the streets, the Kasi Riders are committed to local charity work, taking food to children’s homes, assisting old age homes and advocating for increased road safety. Nyandeni’s position in the club makes a particular statement. “In some communities, it’s still felt that women’s mobility needs to be controlled and that they need to depend on a man to move,” Nyandeni says. “Seeing a black woman on a bike still does feel like a far-fetched idea in some communities. I hope that my story will change this.”