Pietermaritzburg’s young woman pilot hopes to inspire others

Ndalo Ntenza, 24, is a private and commercial pilot from Pietermaritzburg. Picture: Supplied

Ndalo Ntenza, 24, is a private and commercial pilot from Pietermaritzburg. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 3, 2023


Durban — A young black woman pilot from Ncwadi in Pietermaritzburg has embarked on a journey to inspire rural children to become pilots.

Ndalo Ntenza has started a career exhibition project in which she visits schools in rural areas. The 24-year-old said many children in these areas lacked determination and vision because they were not exposed to a variety of career opportunities.

“Some even get out of school having no idea what they want to study. Therefore their main idea is to target unpopular professions in fields of study,” she said.

In 2019, Ntenza enrolled in a training programme at the Virginia Airport in Durban North where she obtained a private pilot’s licence. She then went on to become a commercial pilot and is now doing instructor ratings.

Ntenza wants to become a pilot instructor one day.

“I have always been active in empowering others. Me becoming a pilot in a white-dominated industry should not only benefit me, but it should put me in a better position to continue to motivate others and give them hope for the future,” she said.

Ntenza faced many challenges. Among those was getting sponsorship, and she went a whole year without it.

“I was really struggling in terms of getting sponsorship, since pilot training is very expensive, until one day I decided to write on Mxolisi Kaunda’s timeline – he was the MEC for Transport at that time (now eThekwini mayor). Luckily he replied and told me to come to his office. That’s how I got the funding from the Department of Transport,” she said.

Ntenza urged young women to not give up and to always follow their dreams, no matter how long it took.

“Although we do have big aeroplane companies in South Africa, my biggest dream is to one day become an Emirates pilot.

“And also give back to the community by forming an organisation that will sponsor other young black women who want to become pilots.”

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