At the tender age of twenty years old, Kalenga Kamwendo has become Zambia’s youngest pilot, having been hired as part of Proflight Zambia’s commitment to supporting Zambian youth and nurturing young local talent.
Kamwendo was given the job on his 20th Birthday in August last year, and has since joined Proflight’s team of 36 pilots operating across Zambia as well as Malawi as a First Officer.
Born in Kitwe in Zambia’s Copperbelt, Kamwendo took an avid interest in the aviation industry whilst in Grade 10 or 11 at school. A strong student in English, Maths and Physics, he enrolled for Forty Three Air School in South Africa’s Eastern Cape after graduating from secondary school in 2011.
A year and three months later, he had racked up 200 hours of flying and his commercial pilot’s license in hand, despite being much younger than a number of his peers. Kamwendo has now done almost 500 hours of flying since joining Proflight Zambia.
Recalling his first day as a commercial pilot, Kamwendo says:
“I was nervous; I didn’t even have the full uniform. I was flying to Kasama and had to be up at 4am”. But that’s all in the past now. He goes on:
“There are tons of thrills, from something as simple as seeing a passenger happy, to the thrill of flying.
Kamwendo had originally planned to become an engineer like his father, but on hearing that there was a mistaken belief that Zambians could not become pilots, he was determined to set the record straight.
Today, he stands as proud testament of the potential of Zambia’s youth, and what they can achieve when given the chance. He sends a clear message to all young Zambians that the sky may not be the limit — it could be even higher.