24-year-old Second Lieutenant Thokozile Muwamba has made history as Zambia’s first female fighter pilot to be accepted into the male-dominated area of the military.
After joining the military in 2012, Muwamba was fortunate to be part of the Zambian Air Forces programme to train female pilots who will bridge the gender gap in the field.
“Men are not a competition but counterparts that one should work with, and hence women should begin to participate and realize their abilities. Because of this understanding, I am ready to undertake this task ahead of me,” she told local media Times of Zambia last week.
“I look at the fact that when I am in the airplane, the aircraft knows no sex as it depends on my input even if I am a woman. I can also give it the right steering for it to respond correctly.”
The Zambian Air Force commander Lieutenant General Eric Mwaba Chimese announced in 2015 their decision to introduce female pilots to boost the fight for gender equality in Zambia.
According to Brigadier-General Kapungwe, the commander of the ZAF base in Mumbwa, having Second Lieutenant Muwamba as the first female fighter pilot is a clear illustration that women were progressing.
“We want to see more women in the country become fighter pilots in future,” he added.
Second Lieutenant Thokozile Muwamba quit as a first-year student at the Copperbelt University (CBU) to join the military and pursue her dream career of being a pilot.
She says she owes her success to hard work, determination and inspiration from her family and instructors.
“Impossibilities can be made possible as long as one was determined to attain one’s goal,” she advised other women.
Africa has only a few female pilots, especially in the Air Force.
Nigeria decorated its first female pilot, Flying Officer Blessing Liman, in 2012. Liman was apparently the first female military pilot in West Africa at the time.
Now, Zambia’s first female fighter pilot, Second Lieutenant Thokozile Muwamba has joined the band of Combat female pilots and we wish her the very best.