Born in 1979, Asnath Mahapa made history when she became Africa’s first female commercial pilot and the first to acquire an airline transport pilot’s license. Her inspiring story is about how she broke career and social
She grew up in Limpopo Province and fell in love with flying at the age of 13. Her curiosity about why aircraft manage to stay in the air is what inspired her to find out more and eventually led her to follow the career path she chose.
In 1998 Asnath started with her training in Polokwane at G&L Aviation and then moved to Progress Flight Academy later that year to finish off her private pilot’s license. She went on to complete her commercial pilot’s license in 1999.
She joined the South African Airforce in 2001 and went on to fly for the United Nations and The Red Cross until January 2007. During that time, she operated mainly in Central and West African Countries.
In 2007, she joined South African Express where she flew until January 2010 at which time she started flying for South African Airways (SAA) where she flies internationally as a Senior First Officer on the Airbus 330 and 340.
The Asnath Matsobane Mahapa Foundation (AMF) was established in 2017 to assist and empower young women and men from disadvantaged backgrounds by exposing them to STEM programmes (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and to provide mentorship.
Asnath is also a member of the Girls 4 Girls (G4G) organisation. It exposes young women to female leadership, mentorship, and provides access to effective education and training.
Since 2018, Asnath has also embarked on motivational speaking to inspire audiences and to steer them in finding their pre-eminent purpose.
She was recognised as one of the 100 Greatest Women in Aviation ‘The African Female Pilot Award’ by Black Management Forum at the Limpopo Women in Excellence Awards Forum. She was also nominated for ‘Woman of the Year, (Science and Technology section, in 2003).
In August 2017 Asnath received a Legacy Award from the South African Women’s Alliance in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA and became the Cell C ‘Take a girl child to work’ ambassador.
She has been a guest speaker at, among other events:
- Women’s Gender Summit 2019
- Women in Engineering Convention
- Take Over – FNB Women’s Breakfast