The recently concluded Rio games left us all with many things, one of them being the proliferation of the #BlackGirlMagic mantra. Simone Biles and her ilk showed the world we black girls are beings to be reckoned with. However, there’s another star on the block. BESA MUMBA is her name and she has become the youngest commercial pilot in Zambia after securing a pilot flying job with the nation’s scheduled airline, Proflight Zambia.
The 19-year-old Zambian lady had her maiden flight with a Private Pilot Licence in the South African Flight Training Academy in Hiedelberg, Guateng in 2013 after her attaining her grade 12 results. Barely out of teenage-hood, she has achieved royalty status in her country.
“Curiosity made me venture into an aviation career. Initially I wanted to be cabin crew but I thought to myself: ‘why not be the person who flies the aircraft?’ From then I had questions on how planes fly, how they moved in the sky and I wanted to know how pilots knew where they were and where they were going. My curiosity grew,” Mumba told the Lusaka Times.
To obtain her commercial licence, she went through extra and more complex training at SIMU Flight in Pretoria. Through the first quarter of 2015, she completed final training towards obtaining a Commercial Pilots Licence, which she earned in July of the same year at the age of 18.
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Thereafter, she was employed by Proflight Zambia as a First Officer in July 2016 and she has already flown more than 15 hours, on Zambian domestic routes to Kasama, Lower Zambezi, and Luangwa.
She has managed to topple the previous record holder for youngest pilot in Zambia, Kalenga Kamwendo, who became the country’s youngest pilot in 2015 aged 20.
Her experience so far has driven her to inspire more young women to follow their dreams. “If you have a dream, work hard you can get to where you want,” she disclosed to the Lusaka Times. “I feel amazing! I hope the Zambian people will be inspired by my story to also reach for their dreams and goals because I think the sky is not the limit.”
The sky is definitely not the limit for Mumba as she sees herself achieving Captain status in the next 5 years and flying the big jets at Proflight Zambia.
Kudos to the flight industry in Zambia, which is ranked fastest growing in Southern Africa by global aviation analysis company, OAG Aviation. They are actively propelling female talent within their ranks with examples like Mumba. “Proflight Zambia was impressed with Besa’s determination and drive and we believe she has the will to succeed in what is very competitive industry,” said Proflight’s Director of Government and Industry Affairs Capt. Philip Lemba to the Lusaka Times. “We will support Besa all the way, and look forward to her growing her career with us.”