Business & Industry SA’s first black female commercial pilot is an inspiration!

SA’s first black female commercial pilot is an inspiration!

The sky is the limit for girls in South Africa, thanks to an inspiring partnership between the Take a Girl Child to Work campaign and a go-getter pilot.


black female commercial pilot
Asnath Mahapa, the first black female commercial pilot in South Africa, has become the spokesperson for 2019’s Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day® campaign.

The first black female commercial pilot in South Africa, Asnath Mahapa, has become the spokesperson for 2019’s Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day campaign, happening on 30 May 2019. This initiative is aimed at broadening young people’s horizons in South Africa, specifically teen girls, and helping them explore all the career opportunities available.

“Many of us let our background define who we become. We stop dreaming because someone said to you, it has never been done, or it is difficult because life is difficult,” says Asnath, “I am here to tell you that life is not difficult, it is your outlook on life that makes it easy or difficult.”

Asnath grew up in rural Limpopo with little access to amenities such as water and electricity. She credits her mother, who sadly passed away just before her 13th birthday, for her can-do attitude towards life.

Asnath is excited to team up with Cell C and the company’s Take a Girl Child to Work Day initiative because she firmly believes that many girls still give up on their dreams because they believe them to be impossible, or ‘not suited’ for women.  As the first African female commercial pilot, Asnath wants to use this platform to share her message that just because something has never been done, doesn’t mean you can’t be the first one to do it.

“Girls are statistically more vulnerable to challenging circumstances that can be a barrier to their successful navigation through school and the working world. As such they do require a more holistic approach,” says Suzette van der Merwe, Managing Executive for Cell C Corporate Social Investment. “The Take a Girl Child to Work Day initiative takes into account the impact of turbulent teen years, motivate them to believe in themselves, equip them to make healthy choices, complete matric and enrol at a tertiary institute and enter the working environment.

“Asnath embodies everything we are trying to achieve.  Giving up on her dream to become a pilot was simply never an option,” she adds. “She faced many obstacles but believed in herself and didn’t give up until she earned her wings. She’s an inspiration, and we are thrilled that she is part of the movement this year.”

Cell C’s Take a Girl Child to Work Day is regarded as one of South Africa’s largest collaborative acts of volunteerism, which has helped more than a million girls.  Registration for 2019 opened on the 7th of March, and organisations, entrepreneurs, NPO’s, civil society and government institutions are called upon to participate and to equip and empower girls with the needed resources and skills and give girls exposure to their future career path.

Follow the conversation by using #GirlChild2019 and #MoreThanADay