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Meet Major. Rita Mweetwa, ZAF’s 1st Female Helicopter Pilot 

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By CHRISTINE MWAABA

AS Zambia celebrates International Women’s Day with the global community, it is important to reflect on distinguished women, especially those who have defied odds to venture in fields that thought to be perseved of men.

Maj Rita Mweetwa, Zambia’s first female helicopter pilot aged 29, is one of the women who deserve recognition and appreciation.

Maj Mweetwa has undoubtedly made history for taking up a position that was once believed to be only for men.

The determined helicopter pilot has made an incredible stride in gaining recognition by proving that women can take up tasks that people think can only be done by men

“When I am flying a helicopter, the aircraft does not look at the pilot whether one is a woman or man. All that is needed is for one to have the competence to fly it regardless of gender,” she said. .

Conquering the awesome skies has not been seen as a feat meant for the average woman who, according to local tradition, has her place tied to the kitchen.

Born in 1991, Maj Mweetwa completed her secondary school at Fatima Girls secondary School in Ndola in 2008.

She got six points at grade 12.

This success was the beginning of an unbelievable career journey that was nothing but a humbling experience and bravery of a young woman who believed in taking up a challenging career.

After her secondary school, Maj Mweetwa wanted to be a medical doctor

particularly a neurosurgeon. However, when she heard that the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) was recruiting, she applied and was among recruits
selected in 2010.

“When I joined ZAF, I wanted to be a doctor but unfortunately they were only recruiting qualified professionals as doctors, so I was advised to choose another profession under the direct entrants,” she said.

She opted to go for flying training as a pilot because she wanted a challenging career that would help her reach full potential.

Maj Mweetwa recalls how she opted to be a pilot as her second career option as she wanted to pursue a male dominated career.

In 2010, she pursued her basic and advanced training at flying training school in Livingstone.
She was the only female in the course of 18 during her training.

Maj Mweetwa noted that despite being the only female in her class, she was given the same opportunities and tasks as her male counterparts.
While in Livingstone, Maj Mweetwa flew aircrafts like the Saab MFI-15 as well as SF-260-TW.

In 2012, she was posted to Lusaka for her helicopter training at the ZAF training school.
At the time, ZAF did not have any female helicopter pilot as it was a male dominated area of training.

“I wanted to be a helicopter pilot because it was challenging and at the same time no female pilots had flown helicopters, but most of my colleagues would tell me that only men can train as helicopter pilots as they could stay away from home for long periods,”

Her colleagues told her she could not stay away from home for long periods when she becomes a wife and a mother,”she said.

Maj Mweetwa did not give up on her dream and kept on working hard so that she can one day train as helicopter pilot.

Fortunately in 2012, her dream actualised and she was the first femaleto be selected to train as the first helicopter pilot.

(Story courtesy of Times of Zambia)

Lifestyle

Man kills step son for urinating on his bed, police say

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TWENTY-SEVEN-YEAR-OLD of Kasama has allegedly murdered his two-year-old step son after he urinated on his bed.

Police deputy spokesperson Danny Mwale has told Mwebantu in a statement that Kabwe Boma 27 of Malaya village in Mungwi district allegedly murdered Able Mulenga.

Mr Mwale said the incident occurred on April 15 at around 10:00 hours in Mungwi district.

He said initial investigations revealed that the deceased had urinated on his bed and Boma wanted to discipline him.

Mr Mwale said the child suffered suspected internal injuries as kicks are alleged to have been used in the act.

“The body of the deceased has since been deposited in Kasama General Hospital Mortuary awaiting postmortem and burial,” he said.

Mr Mwale said a manhunt for the suspect has been launched.

Meanwhile, Patriotic Front cadre, Charles Kakula has been charged and arrested with the subject offences of Criminal Trespass.

Mr Mwale said Kakula has further been slapped with Threatening Violence contrary to section 90(a) of the Penal Code of the laws of Zambia.

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Lifestyle

RTSA saddened by the death of, Ngongwe Zimba, in a road traffic accident

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THE Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) is saddened by the death of a motorist who died in a road traffic accident involving five (5) motor vehicles in Lusaka.

RTSA Director and Chief Executive Officer, Gladwell Banda, has conveyed a message of condolences to the bereaved family, describing the accident as tragic and unfortunate.

He the deceased, Ngongwe Zimba, driver of the BMW with registration mark ALR 5979 died on the spot following the road crash which occurred around 09:00 hours yesyerday at the intersection of Mungwe Road and New Outer Ring Road in Lusaka West.

Mr Banda said the road traffic crash involved a Volvo truck registration mark BCC 3511, a Sino Howo truck registration mark 9541, a BMW registration mark ALR 5979 driven by the deceased driver Mr Zimba, a Toyota Vitz registration mark 790 and a Toyota Hiace registration mark ALV 1360.

He said the Agency has instituted investigations to establish the cause of the road traffic crash to ensure that such incidences are mitigated.

This is in a statement issued by RTSA head of public relations Fredrick Mubanga.

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Lifestyle

Police arrest Correctional officer of Mansa for attempted murder

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A 31-YEAR-OLD Correctional officer of Mansa has been arrested for attempted murder.

On April 9, 2021 at 19:30 hours, Frederick Chishimba shot at Pathias Bwale aged 19 whom he suspected of being a thief.
Police deputy spokesperson Danny Mwale confirmed the incident in a statement issued yesterday.

He said the incident occurred at Regional Correctional offices in Mansa, Luapula Province.

Mr Mwale said the victim sustained a bullet wound on his left foot.

“The suspect is in police custody awaiting court appearance,” Mr Mwale said.

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ZAMBIA: COVID-19 STATS

16 Apr 2021, 1:55 AM (GMT)

Zambia Stats

90,750 Total Cases
1,233 Deaths
88,414 Recovered

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