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Oyama Matomela      

First Woman to Become a Pilot in South Africa; Grade III Flight Instructor at Superior Pilot Services

Oyama Matomela, the first woman to become a pilot in South Africa, is the embodiment of hard work and dedication.

By the time she turned 19, she had obtained her private and commercial pilot licenses ­-- a feat she managed to accomplish in just 20 months.

Matomela says her passion for aviation started from a young age when she was lured by the sound of turbo engines.

“My aunt would take me and my cousins to the airport on a Sunday to watch planes taking off. It was a ritual we did almost every week that was started by my grandfather who also had a love for planes and had done the same with my aunt and her siblings,” she told DESTINY.

She knew she wanted to be a pilot after job-shadowing at the renowned 43 Air School in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, while she was still attending high school at the Collegiate Girls School.

A diligent student and an athlete, Matomela became the first woman to be awarded a Department of Roads & Transport bursary to complete her pilot training at the 43 Air School.

As one of four women in her aviation training class and the only black student, she says pursuing a career in aviation -- a male-dominated industry -- hasn’t always been the easiest journey, but she’s never let obstacles get in her way.

In 2013, she moved to Joburg to become a flight instructor at Superior Pilot Services at Grand Central Airport in Midrand, where she trained cadet pilots for a year before she was invited to interview for a Junior First Officer position at South African Express.

After undergoing training to fly the airline’s Bombardier Dash Q400, she now flies domestically around South Africa, as well to Gaborone, Botswana, and Windhoek, Namibia, and has over 800 hours of flight time in her logbook.

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