A tale of 2 female pilots… Childhood dreams turn to reality

Mukudzei Chingwere Features Correspondent
She is a rare breed of a woman, intelligent, inexplicably calm, composed, collected and soft spoken. But in the cockpit she has the intrepid adrenalin of a soldier, a bomber jet pilot with a heart of a lioness and instinct to hunt and hit the target with precision.

“Well, as a bomber jet pilot, if my target includes hitting people and I hit them, I will be the happiest pilot because that will be mission accomplished. That is my job. My job is to be precise.”

Captain Matimba who inspired the girls

Air Force of Zimbabwe’s first and only female fighter jet pilot, Flight-Lieutenant Angelina Bosha was only eight years-old when Captain Chipo Matimba became the force’s first female combat pilot in 1998.

The exploits of Captain Matimba charmed Mr Andy Bosha, the father of Angelina who inspired the little girl to work hard and emulate the poster officer of that time.

Flight Lieutenant Mapiye

Little did she know that one day she would not only achieve Captain Matimba’s feat but go a step further to become the first female AFZ officer to complete the more revered fighter jet training course.

Though Flight Lieutenant Bosha joined the force after Captain Matimba had left to pursue a commercial career with Air Zimbabwe, the two are now on talking terms and encouraging each other to do well in the flying profession.

“My father read about her in the newspaper and encouraged me to work hard at school so that I would be like her.

“She is the first female pilot to fly combat aircraft, though our courses are now a bit different she has been a role model from the onset.

“These days we talk a lot with Captain Matimba and she is happy I have reached this far in this profession which requires a lot of hard-work,” said Flt-Lt Bosha.

Though she is now leaving a dream after achieving her target, the AFZ pilot recalled the goosebumps her body developed the first day she took to the stars and flying a plane.

Now the service woman has done enough to call her profession a success and finds no reason to dream further but to maintain the dizzy heights she had scaled.

“I had mixed feelings of excitement and fear I was excited to fly for the first time but scared because it was something new.

“After achieving this I am now living my dream. May be another career goal will come but for now I think I am at a position I never imagined and the feeling is to stay there.

“I want to remain an exceptional pilot, serve my country and be an inspiration to other girls and women,” she said.

Flt-Lt Bosha is the first born child in a family of four, two boys and two girls, and naturally the family expected her to set the pace as the eldest child.

When she joined the AFZ in 2010 after secondary education at Mavhuradonha High School, military training proved to be tough, arduous and thorny to rise through the ranks.

However, with a strong backing from her family, instructors in the military and later on a supporting husband Flt-Lt Bosha laboured to go the extra mile to achieve her childhood dream.

“It has never been easy. I wanted to give up after basic military training but my family encouraged me to                                       continue.

“At work my superiors and instructors kept on encouraging me and also inspired me to go for the course in China which I finished last year,” she said.

The military profession historically has not been associated with females but Bosha has managed to do well in the profession mainly due the support of husband, Daniel Mukonto, who is not even a soldier.

The AFZ officer first met her husband in March 2015 and the couple is now blessed with a son, Daine Mudiwashe.

“I am managing to balance the two because of the support I get from my husband, family and friends. It is difficult but I am managing.

“Like everyone I need to spend quality time with my husband and son but sometimes due to work commitments it is not possible, but my husband and son understand that and are always supportive,” she said.

Despite her towering achievements in the military, back home and in the society, Flt-Lt Bosha performs the chores expected of all women and also reveals she is a darling of her in laws.

“My in laws treat me like their daughter. Before I joined the family they did not have a daughter and I became their first daughter. As such I was given more responsibility akin to that of a mother figure and they are happy with me.

“When I am home, my favourite dish is Spaghetti Bolognese and I am very good at preparing it.

“In the neighbourhood other women and I relate just like anyone else. There is nothing really different that I do. I just do like any other women.

“My daily routine if I am home, I wake up at 05;45hrs and prepare to go for work as well as some morning chores. I leave the house at 07.15hrs for work. in most cases I come back for lunch at 12.30pm.

“At home after work I attend to my son, help my young brother with homework and do some household chores.

“During weekends I do some household chores, take my son to her grandparents in the afternoon and on Sundays we go to church,” she said. The 29-year-old graduated with a fighter jet pilot certificate in China at the end of last year.