ZIMBABWE- Precious Sibalo, a 35-year-old Zimbabwean who served as a flight waitress for 12 years, has now been licensed as a commercial pilot.
However, her ambitions to become a pilot were thwarted once she was given to her grandmother in Magwegwe, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, where she also attended school.
On a school trip to the airport, she saw pilots and her ambition to become one was born. Upon discovering that most of the pilots were male, her ambitions were further fueled.
Her mother, who gave birth to her at the age of 17, was unable to provide for her needs, so she abandoned her and went to South Africa in search of employment.
Precious described how her mother was a maid in South Africa and passed away at the age of 17 due to illness.
In addition to losing her mother at the age of 17, Precious also became a mother at the same age, she had to take up responsibility for her family.
Suddenly, this dream came to a halt when she became pregnant.
“By that time I thought my dreams were shattered because I could no longer go to Advanced Level, I could no longer go to university. So, I had to leave my child in Zimbabwe with my grandparents and go to South Africa as well,” she narrated.
Upon relocating to South Africa, the teen mother secured employment as a waitress and part-time model.
“In South Africa while I was working as a waitress, I worked with excellence. When I was there, customers would see potential in me because I was very optimistic, very jovial person because I believe in the power of the mind,” she was quoted by Women Power Africa.
Her waitressing career continued in Dubai where she moved.
Sibalo got the chance to work as cabin crew for Qatar Airways after three months in Dubai, which put her on the path to achieving her dream.
“While I was in Dubai I applied for a job at Qatar Airways. Among my six friends who applied for the job, I was the one who was chosen for a job of an air hostess and I moved to Qatar Airways. I worked for five years at Qatar Airways while I was saving money to become a Pilot which was my childhood dream,” said Sibalo.
In her later years with the airline, she was promoted to a senior cabin crew member. In 2017, she decided to follow her childhood dream and enrolled in aviation school. As a result of the help of family and friends, she was able to save enough money to train as a pilot.
Currently, the former waitress holds an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), which is the highest level of Aircraft Pilot Licence in the world. It was awarded to her by 43 Air School in South Africa. Currently working on her Flight Instructors rating and building her hours in South Africa, her dream is to become a Qatar Airways pilot one day.
Precious Sibalo urged people to never give up on their dreams. As well as not discriminating against jobs, they should see them as stepping stones on their way to success.
“Some people will always say ‘I will never take this job’. No, take it and use it as a stepping stone. Work with excellence and cultivate your knowledge because knowledge is power. The waitress job, took me to Dubai and paved a way for my job at Qatar Airways,” she was quoted by Women Power Africa.