Kgomotso Phatsima(Captain) is among the first female military pilots in the Botswana Defense Force and the President and Founder of Dare to Dream, a social enterprise dedicated to the advancement of youth, women, and girls in STEM with a focus on aviation, aerospace, and entrepreneurship development. Also, she is a Co-Founder of Women in Aviation, Botswana Chapter. In this exclusive interview, Alaba Ayinuola spoke with Captain Kgomotso to learn more about her social enterprise Dare To Dream and why she’s helping to inspire today’s youth women and girls to discover their passion for STEM, AVIATION and ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Excerpts.
Alaba: Tell us about Dare To Dream and the role you play?
Kgomotso: I am the President and Founder of Dare To Dream, a social enterprise dedicated to the advancement of youth women and girls in STEM, Aviation and Aerospace as well as entrepreneurship development skills.
Alaba: What spark your interest in the military, aviation and STEM?
Kgomotso: I grew up in a small village near Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, I used to see planes passing over my mother’s house, for an early young age I knew l was born to fly, this made me develop interest in STEM from an early young age and ultimately served as a foundation for my career
Alaba: How does it feel as one of the first female military pilots in the
Bostwana Defense Force?
Kgomotso: It has been a beautiful experience, challenging but remarkably exciting, I used my pioneering place to advocate and inspire more learners to venture into careers in the Aviation industry not only in Botswana but across the African Continent
Alaba: Why do you think girls or women are underrepresented in aviation and STEM?
Kgomotso: STEM subjects are believed to be hard and intimidating for women hence the need to have positive role models and Mentorship to encourage female participation in this fields, secondly our culture for example, when l told my mother that I wanted to fly she said ” During our time it was unheard of for a girl child from very humble beginning to fly planes” this stereotypes and limiting beliefs affect female and discourage them.
Alaba: How can we get more girls interested in STEM?
Kgomotso: By encouraging girls at grassroots level , partnering them with mentors, exposing them to different fields of STEM, hosting STEM Career days, Competitions and hackathons to celebrate science
Alaba: What are the obstacles faced and how are you overcoming them?
Kgomotso: Back then when we started flying most of the guys did not want to fly with us, but as the stereotypes started disenterafrating and female pilot’s celebrated across the world, they started accepting and even encouraging and mentoring us to be better aviators
Alaba: How does your organisation measure its impact?
Kgomotso: We have monitoring and evaluation techniques such as questionnaires before and after our programs, we also keep a database of all our students and reach out to them track their progress and share with them opportunities
Alaba: Do you have a female role model who inspires you?
Kgomotso: My Mother- even though we had a 45 year old age difference we still remained the best of friends. May her soul rest in peace
Alaba: What is your advice for for someone who wants to be in your role or a STEM career field?
Kgomotso: Be Fearless in the pursuit of what’s sets your soul on fire, you are going to fail many times, a lot doors will be closed on your face, never give up raise your sights and see possibilities,dust yourself and go back into the fighting arena and pursue that which resonates in your heart.
Alaba: How do you relax and what books do you read?
Kgomotso: I love traveling, Meeting new people and learning new cultures, I just returned back from Dubai. I am currently reading and finishing my first book titled -:- BORN TO FLY – The Story of a Female Military Pilot rising in Africa!
Alaba: Teach us one word in your local language. What is your favourite – local dish and holiday spot within Africa?
Kgomotso: Dumelang means hello. My favourite local dish – serobe morogo and bogobe Holiday Spot – Cape Town in Africa.
B I O G R A P H Y
Kgomotso Phatsima is the President and Founder of Dare to Dream, a social enterprise dedicated to the advancement of youth, women, and girls in STEM with a focus on aviation, aerospace, and entrepreneurship development. She is a Co-Founder of Women in Aviation, Botswana Chapter. She holds a Master of Science in Strategic Management (University of Derby) and a Bachelor of Education Science (University of Botswana). She is also a qualified trainer by the Botswana Qualification Authority.
Captain Kgomotso Phatsima is among the first female military pilots in the Botswana Defense Force. She holds a Commercial Pilot License from the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana. She is the winner of the 2017 Botswana Youth Awards for the Best Female of the Year Award and a recipient of the 80th British High Commission Commonwealth Point of Light Award. Kgomotso is also a 2018 Fellow of the Obama Foundation Africa Leaders Program and an Alumna of the International Visitor Leadership Program, USA Leadership Tour.
Phatsima is a professional coach and sought-after motivational speaker. Together with her company, she conducts team building trainings and several other coaching and training services.
Maelle CABARRUS: The Creator Of The A LA FOLIE
Maelle CABARRUS is a hair coach and hair youtuber since 2010. She is the founder of À La Folie, a research company on textured hair, beauty and self-esteem coaching for black and mixed-race women. Maelle started researching frizzy hair extensively pretty quickly, from the moment she became a youtuber. Her goal is to always better understand textured hair and to provide women with this texture with the tools, keys and methodologies to enhance their hair, themselves and restore the bit of self-esteem.
Her motivation didn’t just come from a desire to share and make the best videos possible. It was also, and in large part, a determination on my part to have the longest, most beautiful hair possible. Kind of like a revenge on life, or a slightly childish attempt, to repair all the anger and resentment she had built up towards my hair.
“I want black women to love their hair and think they look beautiful with it. I want wigs and weaves to be for us first and foremost a means of fantasy, not a default option every other month to “take a break”. I want our hair to be “natural” for us. That wearing them is obvious and natural, that it flows naturally, without any fuss”. says Maelle CABARRUS Founder À La Folie
À La Folie have supported more than 3,500 women in our online programs and served a clientele of more than 8,000 people through our various ebooks and coaching services.
Oumy Saran Keita: Eco-friendly African Artist
Oumy Saran Keita is a Senegalese entrepreneur with a passion for African art. In 2021, she decided to step out of her comfort zone to launch a project that was close to her heart, Kalifa design. A brand that specializes in the design of handmade art objects, with recycled materials.
Having been fortunate enough to grow up with a father who was a visual artist, she has always had a rather special relationship with art. In December 2019, tired of the cold of Paris, she decided to make her first lamp sketches, to give more warmth to the decoration of her office. A dozen sketches were made from it, carefully preserved.
3 years later, back in Senegal, she launched Kalifa Design, an eco-responsible interior design brand offering products designed mainly with recycled materials. All items are handmade and made in Senegal. The name “Kalifa”, which means heritage, symbolises his entire project. The logo features an outstretched hand towards a symbol used by the Adinkra, a West African people.
Oumy Saran Keita uses recycled materials to make papier-mâché which is the basis of all lighting fixtures and works with local artisans to create wooden plates, mirrors, storage boxes and textiles. Kalifa has allowed her to return to the things that are essential to her balance: painting, sculpture and drawing.
Lamine Ndiaye: Promoting Senegalese Art
Lamine Ndiaye, a young entrepreneur of Senegalese origin who is passionate about fashion. A costume designer in audiovisual production, Lamine is the founder of the Yelloow brand, which specializes in the design and sale of 100% African bags. A great defender of local consumption and his goal is to promote all that Senegal has to offer in the field of art and creation. Since Lamine was a child, he has been passionate about fashion. It is therefore quite natural that he chose to undertake this field, while seeking to stand out from the others. For him, entrepreneurship is a factor of development.
Yellow is a brand that offers accessories such as backpacks, travel bags, shoes, computer bags, fanny packs, handbags etc. To successfully promote local consumption, Yellow brings out the originality and quality of its products by using very stylish, colorful and rare African raw materials such as wax, woodin, or upholstery fabrics patched with leather or suede, which makes the products chic and stylish with sustainable use.
Yellow aims to be a brand committed to showcasing African potential in all its artistic variations. The know-how of an Africa that restores itself in its dignity and honour through the creativity of the African.