Celebrating African Leaders in Aviation – Philip Mafunga Quality Systems Specialist at Boeing

How did you get into aviation?

I started by attending a trade school in Kenya for 3 years and spent one of the years at Wilson airport on internship as an aircraft technician with East African Air Charters. From there I moved to the United States to pursue a full degree program in Aviation Sciences and aviation Safety.

Family support during your journey

My family were instrumental in getting me started toward my career. They sacrificially raised funds for me to be able to attend aviation school both in Kenya and the United States

How do you find your training

I was part of a pioneer group that joined a new college that had just opened up with an aeronautical engineering degree program. There weren’t many choices available at the time, so it was the only viable option for me.

How did you get to your current role (career wise, past jobs etc)

I went to college at the university of central Missouri in the United States and after graduation I got hired by ST engineering San Antonio Aerospace as a quality engineer. I worked in that role and also explored marketing assignments in order to diversify then I embraced a safety management systems role which is what I am doing at Boeing as well. In the same time period, I also got my pilot’s licence and have been working on that as time goes on.

Any mentors

I networked with ISTAT foundation personnel, and they were very instrumental in providing guidance on how to curve out my career path and ended up helping me find a job.

Life when not flying

When I’m not flying, I’m either playing soccer, tennis or music with my church band.

Advice to someone in training

Ask a lot of questions and study to detail anything you may even feel is insignificant. Even when making a photocopy, learn what the paper is about and what process it serves. Then ask more questions.

Advice to someone thinking of an aviation career

It is a great career path and offers lots of options even to lawyers, Information technology, engineering but ultimately, do something you enjoy doing.

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Celebrating African Women in Aviation – Amanda Kandawire

For Amanda Kandawire-Khoza, flying aircraft has been her dream ever since she first flew as a passenger at the age of five.  In the 13 years of flying as a licensed pilot, she has clocked hours in the cockpits of SA Express, South African Airways, and has moved to Dubai-based Emirates where she became the first black South African woman to fly an A380 plane.

A self-taught digital illustrator, she also created the podcast cover art for She Brigade, a platform women use to share their stories of triumph.  Amanda Kandawire-Khoza was part of the 100 Brightest Young Minds SA in 2014 and was the recipient of the CEO Magazine’s Most Influential Woman in Aviation in 2018/19.

We were humbled and honored to have Amanda as a Guest Speaker at the 4-day Avi-STEM Camp in Nairobi, Kenya, where she got to share her experiences and life story with the learners. The learners were left inspired and motivated to one day reach for their dreams as she had.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she founded two businesses, Layover Art, where she creates art-curated products and handmade earrings, as well as Fly Like a Girl, which aims to expose children to the wonderful world of aviation through the use of educational toys.

Amanda is indeed a role model for the youth in Africa.

African Leaders in Aviation Awarded an ISTAT Foundation Grant

ALA is excited to announce that it has been awarded an ISTAT Foundation grant for its upcoming 2022 Aviation & STEM Camp that will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 21st till the 25th of September 2022. The funding will be used towards the camp program fees and enable ALA to acquire equipment such as drones and flight simulators.

The ISTAT Foundation was founded in 1994 to support individuals and institutions that promote the advancement of commercial aviation and humanitarianism. It has has five programs that foster interest in, create opportunities for and provide assistance to the global aviation community.

  • Scholarships
  • ISTAT University
  • Grants
  • Internships
  • Humanitarian Aid

About The Kenya Aviation & STEM Camp

In partnership with;
• FEGNe – Fun & Education Global Network
• Precision Aerial Zimbabwe
• Women in Aviation International (Kenya Chapter) and
• We Were Once Them

From 21 to 25 September 2022, ALA will be hosting a 4-day boarding style Aviation & STEM Camp in Nairobi, Kenya. The goal is to expose 200 grade 9 and 10 learners, both boys and girls, from around the Nairobi area – orphanages, slum areas, high-density areas, and other identified youths in need of such a camp to the various opportunities that exist within the Aviation and STEM fields. How? by bringing to them, role models who are well established in the Aviation & STEM field, who look just like them and have come from similar backgrounds. These individuals will hold panel sessions to expose their different areas of expertise, debunk STEM myths, and run practical hands-on workshops.

With the pandemic, many teenage girls have dropped out of school, there is an increase in adolescent
pregnancies, and some have lost hope. At the same time, others remain isolated with no role models and are unaware of the various opportunities in Aviation & STEM, which would also help break cycles of poverty. The impact of such a camp is substantial.

ALA was founded by two African women in the aviation sector, who overcame many obstacles and fought many battles to realize their dreams. In pursuit of their wings they realized how there is not enough information, programs, or support for aviation nor STEM fields particularly in the aviation sector which is why ALA is passionate about its work.

On behalf of the camp attendees, their communities, and our collaborating partners, ALA would like to “Thank You For Your Generosity.” We continue to change the narrative together, one African youth at a time.