Meet Theresia Mumbi, a Bearded Female Matatu Tout Based in Nairobi


Theresia Mumbi is a bearded 34-year-old woman who works as a matatu conductor in Nairobi.

She opened up on the struggles of having a beard in an interview with BBC, saying 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.

But after completing high school, Mumbi started job hunting in 2005 and that’s when she noticed how fast her facial hair was growing. She tried shaving but this only made the beard grow back faster.

“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.

The mother of one, who was working as a waitress in a city hotel at the time said she had an easy time at work as the customers were used to her beard. However, once she stepped outside her workplace, the ridicule continued.

“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.

When it became too much, Mumbi sought medical attention for her condition and was informed that it was caused by hormonal imbalance.

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.

Mumbi said the experience made her question God on why she was created with a beard. She even contemplated committing suicide at some point but her 7-year-old son gave her a reason to live.


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