MELISSA, famously known as @pilot_onthegram on social media, talks about flying, favourite destinations and her mentorship program. Picture: supplied.
MELISSA, famously known as @pilot_onthegram on social media, talks about flying, favourite destinations and her mentorship program. Picture: supplied.

Nkalakatha of the week: SA women, queens of industry

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Aug 15, 2021

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Cape Town – “Women of South Africa are some of the most powerful people on Earth. Change what you believe is possible for yourself.” Oprah Winfrey

Women continue to rise. Breaking barriers and it is only fit that during Women’s Month we celebrate the queens of industry. Independent Media and IOL have featured some powerful women and this week we thank them for leading the charge.

For showing beauty, grace, brains and strength.

Here is a selection of some of the incredible women featured this week.

Melissa aka @pilot_onthegram on social media

Most called her dream of becoming a pilot far-fetched, but for 24-year-old Melissa, the naysayers motivated her to work harder towards her aviation dream.

Now, the TikTok star from Joburg, who has amassed over 700K on TikTok, is flying to some of the most exotic destinations.

Melissa is also an aircraft manager, a content creator and hosts a mentorship programme.

"From a young age, I had been interested in pursuing a career in aviation, and waking up every day being able to live a life that I could only dream about as a kid has been surreal," she said.

Read more on the wonder woman who said working in a male-dominated industry has not stopped her from reaching for the sky.

Aeronautical engineer Linda Ngozwana

Breaking boundaries, aeronautical engineer Linda Ngozwana says she aware of the responsibility she holds as a woman in this highly competitive industry.

The 27-year-old from the small rural town of Butterworth in the Eastern Cape hopes to inspire many other young girls from similar backgrounds to follow her example.

“Because of the lack of women in the field, it gives me great joy that I can be part of the movement that is aiming to inspire more women to join in,” she said.

“Engineering is still male dominated, but it’s the role and responsibility of how young girls and boys are raised that matter, the gender stereotypes that are associated with gender and how these predetermine what careers we ought to be in the future.”

Read more on how Ngozwana’s passion for aviation began as a young girl who was obsessed with adventure and equipped with an inquisitive mind.

SAPS airwing’s Sergeant Zoliswa Kabini

Sergeant Zoliswa Kabini, 34, is an Airborne Law Enforcement Officer (ALEO) attached to the Johannesburg Airwing Unit.

Originally from Umzimkhulu in KwaZulu-Natal, Kabini holds a BA degree in Policing is one of 10 female ALEOs in the organisation and provides air support utilising an aircraft to conduct and assist operations.

They mainly focus on tracking and tracing suspects in high risk incidents such as cash-in-transit (CIT) heists, armed robberies, hijackings and a host of other serious and violent crimes.

“I love everything about my work. I don’t get intimidated by my male counterparts because everything they do I can equally execute,” Kabini said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage more women, especially young females, to join the service and play their part in making South Africa a safer place.”

Read more on Kabini’s thoughts on how to survive in the environment some of the personality and characteristic traits one needs to have to make it.

Lieutenant Colonel Meliza Pretorius

Lieutenant Colonel Meliza Pretorius has 27 years experience in the facial identification environment and is among the 20 female Facial Identification Analysts in the police service.

A Facial Identification Analyst / Forensic Artist are specially trained to apply and combine interviewing skills with artistic ability in order to create a Facial Composition.

They render a scientific support service to investigating officers, in order to identify suspects, unidentified deceased persons, missing persons, and unique or scarce items linked to a crime.

“There is nothing more that makes me proud than when we interview victims or complainants and compile a positive face of a suspect. Ours is to continue to serve the people of this country with due diligence,” she said.

Read more on how Facial Identification Analysts have assisted in securing multiple life sentences for perpetrators of complex crimes such as murder, rapes, and hijackings.


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