Lebogang Betty Mokwena just landed her first job as a commercial pilot and hopes to inspire the next generation of big dreamers.
Johannesburg, South Africa – Lebogang Betty Mokwena a 25 years old commercial pilot was born and raised in Johannesburg. She always wanted to become a pilot, but her mother worried because of how “fragile” the industry is. Pilots fly based on their medicals so if a medical isn’t valid, the pilot can’t fly. She encouraged her to go to Varsity to study something else just in case her aviation career didn’t pan out.
Lebo honoured her mother’s wishes and completed her BA degree majoring in psychology and politics. She realised she loved psychology and went on to do her honours degree in psychology. Once she had her studies completed, Lebo set her sights on her dream of becoming a pilot. She started her flying training at 43 air school in 2017 and completed it in 2018.
“Thereafter I did my type rating course and became type rated and qualified to fly a Boeing 737 jet. In January this year, I started GrIII my instructors’ course at PTC Aviation and qualified as an instructor in March.”
She started her first job in aviation this month as an instructor at 43 air school. She hasn’t forgotten her passion for psychology and plans to merge the two.
“I plan on venturing into something called aviation psychology, which would merge my two career fields and would require me to get my masters degree.”
Learning to fly is a costly exercise, but Lebo is incredibly grateful for her opportunities. Her mother was able to support her through her studies, something she says has made her feel blessed.
Lebo has her eyes set to the sky and hopes to inspire little girls with the very same dream. She is hopeful that with the changes in the cabinet, there will be new opportunities for students to access bursaries and support in the aviation field.
“I’m hoping our new Minister of transport provides our industry with more bursaries. Not just for flying but for other important sectors in the industry such as aircraft maintenance officers and Air traffic controllers, to name a few.”
She has a message for little for the future female pilots of South Africa.
“One thing I’d say to little girls is: it is possible. With hard work and dedication, learning how to fly is attainable regardless of your gender.”