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24-year-old female fighter pilot makes history

PIONEER: Second Lt. Thokozile Muwamba

A YOUNG woman has made history in Zambia as the the country’s first female fighter pilot to be accepted into the male-dominated military.

Second Lt. Thokozile Muwamba, 24, joined the military in 2012 and was selected to be part of a Zambian Air Forces program to train female pilots to bridge the gender gap in the field.

Speaking on her new position, Muwamba said: “Men are not a competition but counterparts that one should work with, and hence women should begin to participate and realise their abilities,” Muwamba told the Times of Zambia. “Because of this understanding, I am ready to undertake this task ahead of me.

“I look at the fact that when I am in the airplane, the aircraft knows no sex as it depends on my input, even if I am a woman,” said the fighter pilot, who dropped out of Copperbelt University her freshman year to pursue her dream career of becoming a pilot. “I can also give it the right steering for it to respond correctly.”

Zambia Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Eric Mwaba Chimese announced in 2015 that he decided to introduce female pilots to boost the fight for gender equality in Zambia.

According to Brigadier-General Kapungwe, commander of the ZAF base in Mumbwa, having Muwamba as the first female fighter pilot is a clear indication that women are progressing in Africa.

“We want to see more women in the country become fighter pilots in future,” Kapungwe told the paper.

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