Major Mandisa Nomcebo Mfeka inspired the nation with her performance at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inauguration, many excited about the girl power on show!
South Africa – In April of this year, we introduced you to Major Mandisa Nomcebo Mfeka, a Combat Pilot in the South African Air Force. She made history for being regarded as the world’s first Black African female fighter pilot.
Born in Ntuzuma Kwazulu-Natal, Major Mandisa grew up in Malvern. She realised her love for aviation when she five years old. Her mother and grandmother used to take the family to airshows at Virginia Airport. They didn’t have money to get into the shows, but they would sit outside the airport to watch as the planes came past.
While she loved planes, she always thought she would be a doctor. When she started doing research about the subjects that she was good at, she realised her maths and science could get her a qualification in aeronautical engineering.
She applied to several different universities to study aeronautical engineering. While she waited to hear back, she came across an article for the South African Air Force. She exceeded the requirements of entry, and the added bonus was she could finally become a pilot. Mandisa immediately applied and was accepted.
“From the moment I discovered the SAAF, I knew that’s what I wanted to do, and since then I haven’t looked back.”
In 2008 she joined the South African Air force (SAAF), and in 2010 she started at the Central Flying School in Langebaan; in 2011 she got her wings.
Mandisa says her journey as a Combat Pilot shifted her perspective about what aviation and what being a military practitioner looked like. Nonetheless, she believes that becoming a combat pilot has been a fantastic experience.
“It is such a dynamic environment and so mentally stimulating, and I love it because I’m growing in my technical expertise and learning more about aerodynamics.”
While we shared Major Mandisa’s inspiring story back in April, over the weekend, she became a household name. Major Mandisa was one of the fighter pilots that flew over Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inauguration.
Social media was ablaze with praise for the inspirational pilot. Her fellow commander Nandi Zama was also praised for being the first Black female commander of C130. South Africans were so excited about the display of Girl Power at the inauguration.
We are excited to see these women pave the way for many more young girl children who have dreams as big as theirs.