Kgomotso Phatsima is the Ambassador of Youth in Aviation and Aerospace, she is a social entrepreneur who assists with the empowerment of youth in aviation and aerospace, STEM education awareness and equipping the upcoming generation with business entrepreneurial skills.
She is among the first female military pilots in Botswana Defence Force and she won the Botswana Youth Awards Best Female of the Year 2017.
She is part of the Obama Foundation Africa Leadership Program 2018 as one of the exceptional young emerging leaders in Africa.
Kgomotso conducts professional coaching, team building exercises, and motivational talks, speaker events for corporate, schools and universities.
[bctt tweet=”As a small little village girl, growing up I used to see airplanes flying over our house, from an early young age I knew I was born to fly -Kgomotso Phatsima ” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”]
What led you to choose a career as a pilot?
I am Captain Kgomotso Phatsima. I was born in a very small village called Ledumadumane from very humble beginnings near Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
A village so close to the Capital City of Botswana Gaborone so much that you could almost touch it with your bare hands. As a small little village girl when I was growing up I used to see airplanes flying over our house, from an early young age I knew I was born to fly!
You are part of the military, what has that experience done for you and how has it shaped you as a person?
When I finished my high school, I applied for piloting at 43 Air School in South Africa, my family did not support my dream, my mother said it was too risky and way too out of the norm for a girl child from very humble beginnings to fly an airplane.
” We are too poor my child, during our time a girl child would not even dream of flying planes, Go to the University and study to become a teacher” my mother lamented, with a 45 years old age difference; almost close to five decades indeed we came from different generations
Instead, I gave up my dream to fly and went to pursue a Bachelor of Education Science degree specializing in mathematics at the University of Botswana
When I finished my degree I was immediately hired at Goodhope Senior Secondary School to teach mathematics. After 8 months of teaching senior secondary students mathematics, I realized that it was not challenging enough for me, that I was not fulfilled.
What challenges have you faced with your career and what did you do to overcome them?
In April 2009 the Botswana Defence Force decided to enlist its first female military pilots. This time around I knew nobody was going to stand on my way, now I was going to follow my dreams.
My mother cried. I told her “No mother, this is my dream, this what I want; this is what resonates in my
heart.” I left home for a year-long basic military training to the disapproval of my parents. The training was one of its kind. The most mind-blowing, painful, challenging yet excitings sometimes deeply intriguing experience ever. I learned martial arts and tactics, leadership, unarmed combat to shooting a gun and working as a team.
You have undertaken a few philanthropic projects, why has that been important for your career or personal growth?
Fast forward to now since I became one of the first female military pilots in Botswana Defence
Force 10 years ago. When I was growing up as a dusty little village girl, I never had the chance to sit down with a pilot nor see the inside of a flying machine until I had the opportunity to fly it.
Therefore, seven years ago I started Dare to Dream, to give the upcoming generation a chance I never had!
Dare to Dream is a social enterprise aimed at advancing the empowerment of youth women and girls in STEM Aviation and Aerospace as well equip them with business leadership skills.
We use the power of flight to ignite dreams, to impact communities and change lives. We offer robotics, coding, leadership and character building sessions and airport visits for the upcoming generation.
At Dare to Dream, we travel far and deep in rural areas to give the upcoming generation a sense of purpose in their education! Our motto is to leave no child for behind for African development.
[bctt tweet=”My dream is to set a STEM Aviation Business Leadership Centre in Gaborone at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport-Kgomotso Phatsima” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”]
What passions do you have or explore outside of your career as a pilot?
Due to my contribution in advancing youth, women, and girls in STEM Aviation and Aerospace Business Leadership, I won the Botswana Youth Awards Best Female of the Year 2017.
I also won the Scholarship of Commercial Drone Pilot Licence which I am currently doing with UAV Industries, South Africa.
This year I was selected for the Obama Foundation Africa Leaders Program as one of the exceptionally talented brilliant young emerging African leaders who will be groomed to serve and lead positive changes in their communities, their country, and the African continent.
I have also been selected for the 100 Most Influential Young Africans by Africa Youth Awards 2018. I will be leaving for the United States of America Washington DC for yet another amazing Leadership program – International Visitors Leadership Program for Women leaders promoting peace and security.
Lastly, I have received a donation of two bodies of Aircraft Fuselages RJ85. My dream is to set a STEM Aviation Business Leadership Centre in Gaborone at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. The Aviation Academy will be the home of Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
It will offer an introduction to aerospace sciences, robotics, coding, and drone technology to the upcoming generation as well as equipping them with business and entrepreneurial skills.
We are currently looking for strategic partnership and investor opportunities to assist us to realize this dream to develop the Next Generation of STEM Aviation Business Leaders of tomorrow and only in Botswana but to serve the rest of the African Continent.
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