World’s first black African female combat pilot hails from Durban

South Africa’s Major Mandisa Nomcebo Mfeka has become the world’s first black African female fighter pilot.

Born in Ntuzuma, KwaZulu-Natal, Mandisa fell in love with aviation when her mother and grandmother would take her to Virginia to watch the airshows at the airport.

The family were unable to afford the entry tickets but her mom would park outside the airport to watch the displays.

Initially Mfeka planned on becoming a a doctor but when the Queensburgh Girls’ pupil reached grade 10 she began to research which careers required maths and science and  it was then that discovered aeronautical engineering.

She applied to various universities to study the profession but when she saw she exceeded the requirements to become a pilot with the South African Air Force (SAAF).

She joined the SAAF in 2008 and in 2010 she began at the Central Flying School in Langebaan where she got her wings in 2011 and from there she began her training as a Combat Pilot.