In 1988, Sakhile Nyoni-Reiling became the first female pilot in the Republic of Botswana when she began flying planes for that African country’s state-owned airline Air Botswana. While born in the neighboring country of Zimbabwe, she has spent most of her life in Botswana.
Nyoni’s enthusiasm for flying took root at an early age. She recalled during an interview for The African Millionaire business blog, “I don’t think there is anyone or anything [in particular] that inspired me to be a pilot but the love for aeroplanes came from the fact I grew up watching them shortly after take-off and just before landing as we used to stay near the airport village where I grew up. I found them intriguing and as I grew older I started reading about aviation and planes but it was just out of interest and nothing else.” Nyoni also recounted, “The interest grew further after my first flight when I was 16 because it was just exciting to be up in the air.”
In 2011, Nyoni achieved another aviation milestone when she became the first woman to serve as general manager of Air Botswana. “I am also happy that once again I made history in the aviation industry of Botswana,” Nyoni said during an interview with a Zimbabwean TV news program. “There are challenges here and there but I believe challenges are part of the solutions.”
As an aviation pioneer, Nyoni has become a role model for aspiring female pilots in Botswana and elsewhere in Africa. “I think at the moment there are few women pilots in Africa and the world over because of the perception that it’s a tough job which needs masculinity, which is not the case,” noted Nyoni in her interview for The African Millionaire blog. “Anyone can succeed in this career as long as they work hard and are determined to make it.”
For more information on Sakhile Nyoni-Reiling, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakhile_Nyoni and https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-local-byo-9963-article-zimbabwean+woman,+sakhile+nyoni,+appointed+air+botswana+head+.html