In Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, there is a popular female driver known as Mama Africa but her real know is Massata. Massata Cisse (57), is a pioneer and professional driver.
She practices a profession dominated by men, that of driver of heavy vehicles. She is the only woman among 600 employed drivers in West Africa who works in this area.
The so-called “Mama Africa” has been transporting thousands of tons of goods in countries bordering Burkina Faso for 28 years. In a men-only area, Massata Cisse has managed to make a name for herself, although road trips are not safe.
Employed in a cement factory in Ouagadougou, Massata Cisse, popularly identified as Mama Africa is the only woman out of nearly 600 drivers employed by the company. Albert Ima, the director of the company says she is satisfied.
“It’s not an easy activity to drive long distances. Despite her age, Mama Africa is a woman who stands out,” the director says. “A woman in the middle of several men, that can only be commendable for the image of the woman. She is a great fighter. The driving truck is really her job.”
This job is like a legacy for her. Massata Cisse inherited it from her father, who was also a driver. “I inherited this job from my dad because he was a driver,” Mama Africa says to France 24. “I’ve been driving for 28 years. In West Africa, I’m the only one in my company.”
In the evening of her retirement, Massata Cisse does not intend to remain the only woman driver of heavy goods vehicles and encourages the girls to insert the medium. She is asking for help to set up her project to help young people interested in driving trucks.
“I ask women to have the courage to learn something, no matter the job,” she advises. “Work needed courage. I ask the authorities for help, I want my own truck today to train other girls. I want to create an association and help with training. With my age, that’s what I think.”
Massata Cisse appears today as the incarnation of the emancipation of the Woman.