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[Photos] Thokozile Muwamba: Zambia’s first female fighter pilot in action

[Photos] Thokozile Muwamba: Zambia’s first female fighter pilot in action


She quit her place in Zambia’s Copperbelt University in her first year to join the country’s military little did she know that she’d make a remarkable piece of history.

She joined the military barely five years ago and became a beneficiary of a Zambia Air Force project in 2015 to introduce females into a hitherto male – dominated field.

In her mid-twenties, she holds the rank of second lieutenant in the ZAF and the country’s first female fighter pilot.

She is 25-year-old Thokozile Muwamba and has dreams. Dreams to chalk yet another first, Zambia’s first female air force commander. “My ambition is to become the first female Zambian air force commander,” she said in an interview with the BBC.

Here are a few photos of Thokozile busy at work at the country’s air force base

All photos by courtesy of Zambian journalist, Kennedy Gondwe

Below is a transcript of an interview she granted the BBC a few months back

“I grew up here in Lusaka and went to university then afterwards i joined the air force. I didn’t think i was going to become a fighter pilot and so as i went through my training, my instructors saw potential in me.

“With all the teachings they gave me, they recommended me to go to the fighter squadron. Most people were proud to see that one of the females wanted to take a step forward.

“I actually don’t feel like a woman in this job, after all the aircraft knows no sex (and) the only time i get to know I am a woman is when we get to go to separate bathrooms.

“Wow, to be in the air, it feels ….. it’s wonderful. You feel like you don’t want to come back on ground. I mean … the view is amazing and let me not get started about the aeros, that is the most exciting part about the flight.

“You get to do so many aerobatic manoeuvres and well (of course) you come back fatigued but you feel like you’ve done a good job for the day.”

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