Captain Annabel Vundla is a remarkable Commercial Pilot, Airline Captain at South Africa Airways (SAA); Military Flight Instructor and Presidental Pilot (Reservist) at the South African Air Force (SAAF).
In 1999, she joined the South African Air Force, and became the first African woman training to be a pilot and the only African woman in the whole of the SAAF.
Against all odds, in the year 2000, she became the first African female to qualify as a Pilot in the South African Air Force.
During her full-time in the SAAF, Captain Vundla was a pilot for 21 Squadron and became the designated pilot for former South African presidents Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela.
After 11 years in the military, she joined the South African Airways as a Commercial Pilot, and later became the national carrier’s first Black African Female Captain.
Captain Vundla has flown and commanded the Presidential Inkwazi BBJ1 (Boeing 737-700) jet, Falcon 50, Citation II (C550), Airbus A319 and Airbus A320 planes for over 23 years.
She is revered for her longevity in the skies, flying the South African flag high and continues pushing the envelope by making it possible for young women to dream of a career in aviation and visualise how they can tap into the sharp end of the industry.
On 25 October 2022, Captain Vundla and Senior First Officer Refilwe Moreetsi made history by becoming the SAA’s first black African females to command a flight in its 88 years of existence from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
“Being a pilot was always my dream, but I just did not think it would be possible for a person like myself.”
“It all started when an SAAF recruiting team visited my high school in Mafikeng when I was 15 years old.”
“Against all odds, with unwavering dedication and perseverance through the adversity I faced as a young black woman in South Africa’s post-apartheid era, I made it happen.” – Captain Annabel Vundla