South Africa now has a female combat pilot, her name is Major Mandisa Mfeka.
She developed her love for flying at a very tender age when her mother and grandma used to take her for airshows at the airport in Virginia. They were unable to afford the entry fee at the time so were banished to watching the shows from outside the arena. She said they would just sit in their car parked outside and watch the planes take off.
She joined the South African Air Force (SAAF) in 2008, began attending the Central Flying School in 2010 and went ahead to get her wings a year later. As soon as she discovered SAAF she was bent on being a pilot and she never stopped chasing that dream.
Ironically, she wanted to be a doctor when she was young but was attracted to aeronautical engineering in Grade 10, the beginning of a new chapter in her life. While speaking with the SAAF she said that becoming a combat pilot brought her a different perspective about being a military officer and aviation altogether.
She, however, said it has been an amazing experience and she has learned a lot on the job even though it comes with its own fair share of challenges.
Her favorite quote is “The sky is the baseline.”