Celebrating African Women in Aviation – Carina Manase from Tanzania

Carina Manase from Tanzania

How did you get into aviation?

My passion for aviation started at a very young age, even though I did not come from a family with any aviation background. I always knew I wanted to become a pilot but never knew how. So, I learned from my sisters that those who wanted to become pilots in my country took science subjects in secondary school and a combination of Physics, Geography, and Mathematics (PGM) in high school, and that’s what I did.

In my secondary school, it was mandatory to do a project in the senior year relating to subjects studied at school. I wanted a project whose case study was conducted in the airport, for I knew it was my chance to get close to the world I always dreamt of. With the help of my fellow students, it was possible, and this was my first experience getting inside the airport and seeing pilots and how big planes can be. This trip really helped to ignite my dream inside of me.

In high school, PGM was kind of intimidating because not only is it considered the hardest combination, for out of 169 students in my high school, PGM class had only 5 students, but also out of those five students, I was the only girl. But on my side, being on the right track to reach my goals was all that mattered, and this helped me not to concentrate much on the hardships.

After high school, I had to look for flight schools and, more importantly, scholarships outside my country because there were no available schools in my home country. I succeeded in getting admission to one flight school in Turkey but failed to obtain the scholarship as the fee was too expensive. As a result, I had to apply for another degree in my home country, even though it wasn’t aviation-related. But I was lucky enough to be selected by one of the best universities in Tanzania, the University of Dar es Salaam to study Bachelor of Science in Electronics Science and Communication.

In my final year, I started looking for ways to enter the aviation field and fulfill my old dream. This time I got an opportunity to be accepted into the leading aviation school in Europe, ENAC, to study Masters’s degree in Aerospace Systems- Navigation and Telecommunications. And this was the beginning of my journey in the aviation field. Thanks to my participation and winning the IAWA (International Aviation Women Association) scholarship 2022, the ENAC administration heard my story. It offered me a one-hour flight to one of the flight centers located in Muret, France. It was a dream come true because my first flight experience was when I came to France from Tanzania, and now my next adventure was sitting on a pilot seat next to an actual pilot!.

What are you currently doing?

 I am a student at ENAC, studying masters in Aerospace Systems Navigation and Telecommunication. Currently I got an internship opportunity at the TELECOM LAB, ENAC regarding applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) for Civil Aviation. In parallel to that, I am still chasing my dream of becoming a pilot, it has always been my passion. I am still looking for opportunities and financial means to make this dream a reality.

Long term goals

I see myself integrating my skills as a pilot/Captain and an engineer to make a difference in this industry, while inspiring, connecting and leading the coming generation of female leaders and aviators. Passing on my skills and knowledge and experience in terms of teaching, seminars, webinars e.t.c all over the world building bridges connecting young generations and people already in the aviation field. Bringing more awareness and exposure especially to young women who are afraid to dream being or get their dreams discouraged early in life because of what they face in their societies and had no one to reach out to them and show them it is possible.

I believe this is one of the biggest problems most of young generation in many developing countries as my home country Tanzania face especially women. This is because I was also a victim and I witnessed a lot of people along the way giving up on the same dream we had because of facing more of negative information and most of the time wrong information with no one to answer their questions. I would also like to support and play a role in the growth of aviation industry in Tanzania and Africa at large because I know the development of this industry is the opportunity and good platform for the young and talented coming generation.

Any role models/mentors? 

As I mentioned before, I did not get the privilege to come from a family with aviation background or get any exposure. So, my family are the people I have always looked up to and inspired me in so many ways. I have parents who have always believed and encouraged us to dream big and really go extra miles to support us in every way possible. I witnessed my mother achieving her dream at the age of 49. She is my living proof that anything is possible. I am also very inspired by the hard work, determination and passion that my siblings put in achieving their own dreams and goals inspite of the hardships they face.

Your favorite quote

“A big ship does not sink because of the great storm around it but because of the water that get inside it.” This quote really helped me to realize that I cannot allow my background or whatever hardships I face along the way to be an excuse for not achieving whatever that I want to achieve. I am not defined by my experiences, I am defined by my choices.

Hobbies 

I enjoy reading, travelling, music

Advice to other young people?

We are all uniquely special, so we shouldn’t allow the circumstances to rob away our greatness that is to be offered to the world by letting ourselves settle on how others define us. Anything good is worth fighting for including what we believe we can be in this world.

Any other info you want to share. 

I would like to share about IAWA (International Aviation Women Association). It is an international organization for women who hold positions of impact in the aviation and aerospace industry. Founded in 1988 with the intention of bringing together women of achievement and promotes their advancement throughout the world. I would like to encourage young women who want to get into aviation field and even those who are already in the aviation field to join and become members.

Personally, I was able to be supported financially through the IAWA scholarship to students which is provided each year to young women who wants to find their way into the aviation carrier. But more importantly just to mention a few, it brought me out of my comfort zone, gave me exposure and opportunity to be connected, inspired and mentored by great women and leaders who are already in this field. To great women leaders who are already in the field it is a good platform to nature and inspire future leaders who are going to continue the legacy you left behind.

Membership fee is 25 US dollars for students, 125 US dollars for young workers having less than 10 years of experience and free membership that is offered with the package of the IAWA scholarship.

https://iawa.org/: Celebrating African Women in Aviation – Carina Manase from Tanzania
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Celebrating African Women in Aviation – Lebo Mokoallo

HOW DID YOU GET INTO AVIATION?

I was introduced to aviation as an Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic Apprentice at South African Airways Technical. I never knew there was such a career in aviation until the day of my interview, I was successful and went through all the process of psychometric tests, background checks and medicals.

HOW WAS/ HAS BEEN YOUR TRAINING?

My training was great. It entailed three phases, which gradually prepared me to work on commercial fleet. I understood my tasks and was guided through the on the job training by skilled Aircraft Maintenance Technicians and Engineers for over six months before I could do my trade test.

Waking up every day to seeing planes taking off, landing, taxing and on the parking bay was the best moments of my training. The complexity of the environment and how I had a small notebook to scribble everything down because everyone there was willing to teach you something and it definitely assisted in my everyday work and trade test.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE AIRCRAFT?

“The queen of the skies” Boeing 747. I think it’s the most beautiful aeroplane ever. It was very efficient back then and mostly used for cargo now but I get goosebumps all the time when I see it. Even thinking of getting a nice painting of it in my bedroom.

ARE YOU WORKING OR A STUDENT?

Both. I’m a Bachelor Engineering Technology in Mechanical Engineering student and now working at UAV Aerial Works as a drone pilot.

WHAT AIRCRAFT ARE YOU FLYING?

Lol I wouldn’t call it an aircraft; I do however have a rating to fly all multirotor drones in BVLOS and as anRPAS Instructor.

WHAT KEEPS YOU GOING?

• God, I believe His Mercies keeps me going and My family, definitely my pillars of strength.

ANY MENTORS OR ROUTINE THAT YOU FOLLOW?

I look up to a lot of women in the industry in no particular order, to mention a few Capt Refilwe Ledwaba, Kelebogile Molopyane, Nyasha Manyika, Queen Ndlovu, Kim James, Itumeleng Mokoena, Mpumi Masinga, Major Mandisa Mfeka.

ADVICE TO OTHERS WHO WANT TO TAKE UP AVIATION?

Go for it, the industry is big and growing. Any career you feel can suit you, why not?

YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE?

When everything seems to be going against you, remember the aircraft takes off against the wind, not with it” – Henry Ford

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.