Female pilots inspiring youth to dream of careers in the cockpit

Airline pilots Fatima Jakoet and Refilwe Ledwaba are leading the way in gradually transforming the aviation industry.

Jakoet is the founder of the Sakhi-Kamva Foundation, a non-profit organisation for creating opportunities for the youth to get involved in the aerospace industry.

Ledwaba is the first black female helicopter pilot for Saps and the founder of non-profit organisation Girls Fly programme.

The pair shared their unconventional journeys to the cockpit and discussed the barriers to entry in the industry.

Read: Fatima Jakoet's dream is to groom South Africa's aspiring pilots

Jakoet previously worked as a narcotics expert and says she realised her calling to fly when she stood in front of an airplane during a drug bust at the airport.

Jakoet says that her job requires skills such as leadership, assertiveness, confidence and problem-solving, in addition to theoretical and practical knowledge.

It's almost an impossible dream to think that you can become a pilot, because you don't have the role model or exposure.

Fatima Jakoet, airline pilot and founder of Sakhikamva Foundation

I didn't have the exposure, so I want everyone to have the opportunity while I'm in the aviation industry.

Fatima Jakoet, airline pilot and founder of Sakhikamva Foundation

Also read: Pilots get paid big bucks, but the training costs are sky high

Ledwaba says her curiosity for aviation was peaked when she boarded her first ever commercial flight which was flown by a female pilot.

The aim is to target 9 000 girls in the nine provinces. When I land, I spend two days in each area. We do a lot of work with the girls and have several programmes.

Refilwe Ledwaba, SA Express pilot instructor and founder of Girls Fly programme

She abandoned her initial dream of becoming a doctor and is now a pilot instructor, teaching others how to fly.

Ledwaba is currently flying across the country, visiting remote ares in small aircraft to educate young women about opportunities in aviation.

I was never exposed to careers such as aviation.

Refilwe Ledwaba, SA Express pilot instructor and founder of Girls Fly programme

I was fascinated that there were females in the field. It was my first flight.

Refilwe Ledwaba, SA Express pilot instructor and founder of Girls Fly programme

I got a job in the airline as a cabin crew member, that's where the transition happened.

Refilwe Ledwaba, SA Express pilot instructor and founder of Girls Fly programme

They both lament that the lack of information about funding opportunities and the prohibitive costs of flying lessons and pilot training are the biggest challenges to cracking it in the field.

Take a listen to the inspiring conversation:

702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Cape academies making coding accessible to kids and adults

Cape academies making coding accessible to kids and adults

Code Space Academy and Kids Who Code are two examples of local organisations that are bringing computer science to the masses.

Planning to send/receive Christmas gifts from overseas? You'll want to read this

Planning to send/receive Christmas gifts from overseas? You'll want to read this

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler helps shed light on the rights of consumers when dealing with postal services for Xmas prezzies.

Fatima Jakoet's dream is to groom South Africa's aspiring pilots

Fatima Jakoet's dream is to groom South Africa's aspiring pilots

Fatima Jakoet is one inspirational women who isn't afraid to dream big enough and wishes for South Africa's kids to do the same.

Cabin crew members compare themselves with pilots - SAA

Cabin crew members compare themselves with pilots - SAA

South African Airways (SAA) says four flights have been cancelled, and two delayed due to the strike by cabin crew members.

Scarcity of pilot opportunities inspires  'Hire a pilot' campaign

Scarcity of pilot opportunities inspires 'Hire a pilot' campaign

Hire a pilot campaign is an appeal to the aviation industry for more developmental programmes

Pilots get paid big bucks, but the training costs are sky high

Pilots get paid big bucks, but the training costs are sky high

It costs a lot to land a seat in the cockpit but, with a local starting pay of approximately R40 000 p/m, it must be rewarding.

Popular articles
Why Sisulu and Dlamini-Zuma aren't suitable Presidential candidates: analyst

Why Sisulu and Dlamini-Zuma aren't suitable Presidential candidates: analyst

ANC branch in the Eastern Cape, Z.R Mahabana, has launched a campaign backing Lindiwe Sisuslu as an ANC presidential candidate.

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.

Pamela Nomvete on her downfalls as actress, and 'climbing back'

Pamela Nomvete on her downfalls as actress, and 'climbing back'

This week Xolani Gwala's speaks to former Generations actor Pamela Nomvete for #WhatInTheWorldHappenedTo feature.

[WATCH] New adapted national anthem by students

[WATCH] New adapted national anthem by students

Fees Must Fall activists singing the national anthem with a new melody and phrases calling it a 'decolonised national anthem'.

‘I started my thriving business with R5000 (and made a profit in the 1st month)’

‘I started my thriving business with R5000 (and made a profit in the 1st month)’

After 3 years there are 3 Nic Harry stores (incl online) that sell 100 000 pairs of socks in over 20 countries around the world.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?