Sibongile Maphosa

Meet Bulawayo’s first pothole patching queen

Mmeli Nyoni
A hustler is an enterprising person determined to succeed; go-getter if you like and one Bulawayo woman, Sibongile Maphosa fits that description.

Maphosa (ABOVE) has risen to prominence as a popular “toll gate” alias “Mother Bulawayo” for her work filling pot holes with soil in the Western suburbs of Bulawayo.

When the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) neglects or fails to patch the roads, she takes it upon herself to make money out of saving motorists tyres, shock absorbers and to some extent avoiding accidents that are caused by bad roads.

“ I got the idea to fill potholes when I noticed the level at which the roads were being damaged and I figured it’d be a good opportunity to make money while at it,” she said.

Maphosa, a mother of three, tried her hand in other ventures to earn a living but road patching ended up being her top choice.

“I painted gates for about a year and I stopped because the money wasn’t always readily available. I then thought of selling vegetables but still the money wouldn’t help through the day because I have mouths to feed,” said Maphosa.

Armed with a worn out shovel and wheelbarrow, the pothole vigilante has been seen filling potholes in Nketa, eMakhandeni, along Huggins road and Cowdray Park. However, there is no thank you from the council.

“We have had several instances where residents volunteer to fill in potholes and sadly, the BCC is not bound to do anything considering there won’t be an existing contract between the organisation and the individual,” said BCC spokesperson Nesisa Mpofu.

With or without council assistance, it is money for Maphosa.

“There are good days where I make decent money. I go home with about four or five dollars and then there are worse days where you only get promises,” she added.

Maphosa urged other residents to do responsible things like her even if it was not for the money.

“Although I can’t solve the city’s pothole problem I am convinced I am helping the city in a way,” Maphosa said.