Thokozile Muwamba: Commanding Zambia’s airspace

Meet Second Lieutenant Thokozile Muwamba, Zambia's first female fighter pilot

Inspired by her pilot aunt, 24-year-old Muwamba says her dream of becoming a fighter pilot of Zambia’s Air Force (ZAF) began at a young age.

The pull towards her dream was so strong that she abandoned her first year studies in mathematics and science at Copperbelt University to join the military in 2012 and pursue her dream.

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She recently completed her aviation training to become the first woman in her country to enter the profession traditionally reserved for men.

She was one of a select few women chosen to be trained by the ZAF in a programme introduced in 2015 geared towards attaining gender equality in Zambia

She’s taken “the first woman” title in her stride, but it’s not something that she pays much attention to because when it comes to flying an aircraft, a person’s gender, she says, is irrelevant.

“I look at the fact that when I am in the aeroplane, 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,” Muwamba was quoted saying in an interview with Times of Zambia.

“Men are not competition, but counterparts that one should work with and hence women should begin to participate and realise their abilities. Because of this understanding, I am ready to undertake the task ahead of me.”

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While she admits that her journey to becoming a fighter pilot wasn’t without its challenges and required hard work and dedication, she says she hopes to inspire more women to follow their dreams, no matter how improbable they may seem.

“Impossibilities can be made possible as long as one is determined to attain one’s goal,” she says.