You have to dream big to achieve big. Major Mandisa Nomcebo Mfeka is evidence of that. Belonging to South Africa, Major Mandisa is a combat pilot, making her the first black African female to be doing this.
Born in Ntuzuma, she grew up with the streets of Malvern. When she was 5 years old, her grandmother and her mother would often take her to see the airshows on the Virginia Airport. And is how, she says, her love affair with aviation began. Bein unable to afford entry fees, they would be forced to park outside and watch the display from afar. There was a phase when she considered getting into medicine and becoming a doctor, but her career research brought her to aeronautical engineering. She came across an article on the South African Air Force. Seeing that she met the criteria, she made up her mind.
In 2008 she joined the Air Force and received her wings in 2011. She says, “From the moment I discovered the SAAF, I knew that’s what I wanted to do and I haven’t looked back”.
The journey from joining the academy to becoming a combat pilot was enthralling for her. “It has been an amazing experience. This is such a dynamic environment and so mentally stimulating. I love it because I’m growing in my technical expertise and learning more about aerodynamics.”
Mandisa is an inspiration to all women, of color or otherwise. But she took things one step ahead by showing that being of color or being a woman does not make her different. She lived up to her motto: The sky is the baseline.