Asnath Mahapa, the first African woman to become a pilot in South Africa was recently our guest on Kaya Bizz’s regular feature ‘The Pivot Point’ to share her story. During a live Kaya Bizz broadcast at the annual Kaya Wine and Malt Whisky Affair, she recalled growing up in a rural village, where she saw no airplanes flying around.
“I didn’t know anyone who was a pilot when I was growing up. It was when I went to the boarding school where I would spend many hours in town where I started getting magazines about flying. It is here where got my first knowledge about flying” she says.
Making it against all odds and becoming the first black female commercial pilot she wants to inspire little girls to know that they can achieve anything if they put their minds into it.
Listen to the conversation here:
She was recently appointed as a spokesperson for Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day campaign and flies international routes for the South African Airways Airbus. She speaks about the importance of addressing the gender gap in the workplace.
“I am honored to be part of this initiative, especially in South Africa where girls have always been sidelined when it comes to certain careers. The aim of this campaign is to address the gender gap we have especially in the workplace… That’s why we have such few women in industries like mine.”
Offering advice to would be pilots she stresses academic excellence and says she continues to encourage the girls to work extremely hard. “They’ll need to do Maths and Science in High School, I was telling the girls earlier that you need to work harder, they’ll take the ones who are top of their class… Even when you try getting your commercial pilot’s license, the pass mark right now is 75%, SAA’s pass mark is 80%.”