South Africa’s first female pilot is on a mission to help other women fly


A good life is definitely one of impact and this is the case of South Africa’s first female pilot, Asnath Mahapa.

At a young age, Asnath always admired ‘those big things’ in the skies. It didn’t take long before she discovered that human beings actually control the planes, and since she made that discovery, she wanted to control a plane.

Her father however did not support her dreams and wanted her to study Electrical Engineering instead. After one year of studying Electrical Engineering to please her father, Asnath left to fight school.

“I was the only woman in my class the whole time,” she said. “I had to work very hard. I had to probably work ten times harder than the men that I was with in the classroom.”

The first time Asnath was in the skies, she felt sick. Instead of allowing that to stop her, she kept going back until she stopped feeling sick.

In 1998, she became the first African woman to become a pilot in South Africa at age 22.  She however did not know she had made this achievement until four years after.

Not content with just breaking barriers, Asnath started the African College of Aviation to train and inspire a new generation of pilots. She helps women who aspire to become pilots to fulfill their dreams.

I still see a lot of black women going through the same things that I went through at that time. They still struggle to get jobs after they qualify. Most of them they struggle with finances because it’s a very expensive industry.”

Asnath’s flying school is definitely one to watch out for.


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