Gillian Malouw
Gillian Malouw

Meet Lieutenant Gillian Malouw: SA's first female sub navigator

By Letsatsi Selikoe Time of article published Apr 23, 2019

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South Africa’s first and only female officer able to navigate a submarine, Lieutenant Gillian Malouw, is determined to progress in the combat branch to inspire others.

“The world is filled with naysayers and negativity, but no one can take away what you’ve learnt and no one can take away your dreams. If you truly want something, do everything in your power to make it happen,” Malouw told the Cape Times.

The 28-year-old said she was proud that she was able to accomplish what she had set out to do.

“For the first time in the history of our submarine service, we have a female in a leadership position and in line to command a submarine. It shows we are moving in the right direction.”

She joined the sea cadets when she was doing Grade 7 after her cousins had already been members for a while.

“The sea cadets help to nurture qualities such as leadership, discipline and overall confidence. We were taught about the navy and other careers in the maritime industry. I enjoyed it too, met lifelong friends, and was a member until I completed Grade 12,” she said.

“I made the decision to join the navy in Grade 9, when my cousin (Lieutenant-Commander Nsibande) joined. I felt motivated and inspired when she left Port Elizabeth for Simon’s Town all on her own, and thought I could do it too. I loved the idea of a career at sea and I wanted to wear the uniform.

“I started doing research about career paths to follow in the navy when I was in Grade 10. The descriptions about combat officers seemed the most exciting and I decided that I would go for it. I started applying in my matric year (2008), and was accepted to start basic military training in January 2010,” said Malouw.

She described her job as an officer of the watch at sea as interesting.

“This means that when I am on watch, I am accountable to the Officer Commanding for the safety of the boat in all aspects,” she said.

CAPE TIMES 

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