GWERU: The girl child’s prowess was on display at the 68th pilot training course graduation held at Josiah Tungamirayi Airbase in Gweru today after a female cadet became the first-ever best student in the history of the Airforce of Zimbabwe to be bestowed with a sword of honor by the Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
This accorded twenty-five-year-old Air Lieutenant Gamuchirai Mbigi the authority to command the parade as it marched off the parade square in a clear testimony that the girl child can make it in a male-dominated field.
Through the honor, Air Lieutenant Mbigi joins the league of Captain Chipo Matimba who became the first female pilot to complete a pilot training course with the Air force of Zimbabwe in 1996.
“When I grew up, I always wanted things that are challenging. I have always told myself that I want to control the wings in the sky. I draw a lot of inspiration from Chipo Mutimba. Whenever I see her going up the ladder, I feel the sky is the limit,” she said.
Commenting on the historic gesture, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the government is satisfied with the deliberate efforts being employed by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in mainstreaming gender parity, a key tenant of the country’s constitutional provisions.
“We are not yet there but the strides are quite commendable. The girl child has proved that she can perform better. This should go to society and demystify that flying is a field reserved for males. There are equal opportunities in the area of defense. This is the first step and we hope families out there will see defense as a lucrative area,” said Kashiri.
Guests were treated to impressive foot and plane displays with relatives of the officer cadets taking turns to express joy on the success of their loved ones.
The 68th Pilot training course, which commenced on the 20th of April 2017, had 20 officer cadets but only 15 managed to graduate after others dropped out while one perished in a plane crash during training.