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Female Military Pilot Rising in Africa – BORN TO FLY!

I have a dream. A dream to fly a machine, not just any flying machine but a combat aircraft! ……..
I am Captain Kgomotso Phatsima. I was born in a very small village called Ledumadumane from very humble beginnings near Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
As a small little village girl when I was growing up I used to see aeroplanes flying over our house, from an early young age I knew I was born to fly!
When I finished my high school, I applied for piloting at 43 Air School in South Africa, my family did not support my dream , my mother said it was too risky and way too out of the norm for a girl child from very humble beginnings to fly an aeroplane.
“Re ba humanegi, Kgomotso ngwanaka, tsena sekolo ngwanaka o batle tiro ya ofisi, tiro e ya gago ya go nna mofofisi wa fofane tsa sesole e masisi ngwanaka, rona ka nako tsa rona ngwana wa mosetsana o ne a ka se kgweetse difofane” my mother lamented, with a 45 years old age difference; almost close to five decades indeed we came from different generations.
Instead I gave up my dream to fly and went to pursue a Bachelor of Education Science Degree in Mathematics at the University of Botswana.
When I finished my degree I was immediately hired at Goodhope Senior Secondary School to teach Mathematics. After 8 months of teaching senior secondary students mathematics I realised that it was not challenging enough for me, that I was not fulfilled.
In April 2009 the Botswana Defence Force decided to enlist its first female military pilots. This time around I knew nobody was going to stand on my way, now I was going to follow my dreams.
My mother cried. I told her “No mother, this is my dream, this what I want; this is what resonates in my heart.” I left home for a year long basic military training to the disapproval of my parents.
The training was one of its kind. The most mind blowing painful challenging, yet exciting sometimes deeply intriguing experience ever. I learned martial arts and tactics, leadership, unarmed combat , to shooting a gun and working as a team.
Fast forward to now I became one of the first female military pilots in Botswana Defence Force. When I was growing up in as a dusty little village girl I never had the chance to sit down with a pilot let alone see the inside of a flying machine until I had the opportunity to fly it.
Ten years ago I started Dare to Dream, to give the upcoming generation a chance I never had! Dare to Dream is a social enterprise aimed at advancing the empowerment of youth women and girls in STEM Aviation and Aerospace and business leadership skills .
We use the power of flight to inspire dreams, to impact communities and change lives. We offer robotics, coding, airport visits, introduction to flights for the upcoming generation. We travel far and deep in rural areas to give the upcoming generation a sense of purpose in their education!
Our motto is live no child behind for African development!
Due to my contribution in advancing youth, women and girls in STEM Aviation and Aerospace Business Leadership I won the Botswana Youth Awards Best Female of the Year 2017.
I was selected for the Obama Foundation Africa Leadership Program as one of the emerging exceptionally talented brilliant young emerging African leader who will be groomed to serve and lead positive changes in their communities, their country and the African continent!
Lastly, my dream is to be the first female in Botswana to own an Airline. KP Aviation will revolutionalize the aviation industry in Botswana more especially domestic flights.
We will give an ordinary motswana an unparalleled experience and opportunity to enjoy the beauty of flying and give Air Botswana healthy competition.
Furthermore, KP Aviation will spread it wings to provide the African Continent the best, safe, sound and secure flight experience!