Celebrating African Women in Aviation ~ Kgalalelo Pelle

Growing up in a village I had no exposure to aviation, but I’ve always wondered what it felt like to be in a plane and if it was controlled from the ground or if there’s someone flying it.

One of those questions got answered when I was in grade 4, our English teacher had advised us to go through our dictionaries and that’s when I came across the word pilot and from then onwards that’s when I knew that this is what I want to do. But that excitement didn’t last long, fast forward to grade 7 we had a career day where we had to dress up like the professionals we wanted to be one day and I had no access to a pilot uniform so I borrowed a police woman uniform because that was the only uniform I could find in my area, the lady that borrowed me her uniform asked if I really wanted to be a police woman and I said no, I want to be a pilot which she laughed at and basically told me to find a more realistic career.

So that discouraged me and then I changed and said I want to be a doctor but after matric I did not apply early enough to get space in varsity then I decided to take a gap year and apply for the following year.

It was during that gap year that I found out about a company offering bursaries for aviation related studies which I then applied and started my training in 2015. Training was challenging in the beginning, it was a completely different environment for me and I had never been in a plane before but it got better with time. I’ve had my fair of challenges throughout the training but I never gave up.

After I got my CPL I did my flight instructors rating and I’ve been instructing ever since.

What drives my passion is most definitely the goals that I want to achieve in my aviation career, one of them being an airline pilot one day. Another thing that keeps me going on a daily is seeing my students progress and getting their pilot’s licences. It’s a great feeling knowing that you’ve helped someone achieve their goals especially if it’s something that seemed impossible to achieve when they started or encountered challenges somewhere in their training.

I’ve never had a mentor but I follow a lot of female aviators who are doing amazing in their careers and reading about their stories motivates me to work harder. My family have been my greatest support structure throughout my journey.

I often have aspiring pilots reaching out to find out how they can also get into the industry, which I then provide them with necessary information to help them start their journey.

For those considering a career in aviation: Make sure that you are passionate about flying because your passion will keep you going when you encounter challenges, this path requires a lot of commitment and hard work so be ready to put in the work.

And lastly there will be people who will tell you that you can’t make it or that this is not for you, don’t listen, keep going. Put in the hard work and you will make it.


One thought on “Celebrating African Women in Aviation ~ Kgalalelo Pelle

  1. You go girl, your truly an inspiration, I wish you many many more happy landing my dear sister, and may you retire from Flying with gray hair and lots of fullfilles dreams and desire, You haven’t live your best best life yet Swtie, brace for a marvelous adventure

    Liked by 1 person

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