When I came across Sive Mfenyana’s Instagram Account, I said “my daughter will meet her one day and she will be instantly inspired.”
Meet Sive Mfenyana, a 24 year old Pilot currently residing in Johannesburg. Sive is the epitome of grace, style and passion; and has achieved what many women often doubt that they too can achieve – and that is identifying her dream career path early on in life.
Sive describes herself as follows:
I’m Christian before I am anything else. I absolutely love being a black woman, I would be jealous if I were anything else. I’m passionate about the advancement of black people socially and economically. Pink is my favourite colour. I’m mad about ice cream. I believe in love. And I’m most free when I’m flying.
Where did you grow up, and how has this shaped your outlook on life, insofar as success in concerned?
I was born in the Eastern Cape. I’m from a small village in Lady Frere called Mtsheko informally known as eDophu. I moved to Johannesburg when I was about to start Grade 1 and completed my school career between Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg and Pretoria, but went back home to eDophu on school holidays.
Having the experience of growing up in rural Eastern Cape and somewhat simultaneously with growing up in the city of Johannesburg has given me a broad perspective and a clear view of the social injustices in our country, that rob us of dignity and economic freedom.
I have been privileged enough to not be constrained by these injustices. But a great deal of people who have had a massive impact on my life have. This has resulted in my idea of success not being individual, but rather something for me to achieve in order to pay it forward and see it’s trickle on effect on other generations, other families and ultimately a dignified and economically free black society.
Tell us more about your blog, Pink Skies. When was it was founded, and what inspired the idea?
Pink Skies was founded in 2014.
Initially it was inspired by my desire to visualise my feelings: happy, sad, meaningful and even trivial; without having to journal because I’m not big on writing but I can always find a picture, bible verse, song or even a quote that seems to sum up my feelings. As I started posting I realised that it became less about me and more about creating a space for the odd girl who loves to fly, loves aeroplanes but also likes beautiful interior, fashion, pink and has a heart for other women. The comfort that black women find on my page is what continues to inspire its existence.
What are some of the challenges you face in your current role as a Pilot – more specifically as a female in this role?
The feeling of constantly having to prove my abilities and working extremely hard to minimise my mistakes in the workplace, because my mistakes, as a woman, can easily and conveniently be described as incompetency.
Also, just the feeling of being a pilot, being a boy’s club. That makes it difficult to connect with, and relate to pilots who have gone before me and could be great mentors, because conversations very often end with kitchen jokes.
What are your greatest accomplishments to date?
Going solo in 2014. Obtaining my Private Licence in 2016. And landing my first job in aviation in 2017. The two articles I had last year were also massive wins for me because of the passion I have to change the face of ‘pilots’ and more importantly to make piloting accessible and enticing for all people. (this one will be added to the list) 🙂
Where to from here for Sive The Pilot, and Pink Skies?
There’s an airline that I’m gunning to join in the next few months, that will really set me up for the next couple of years. I also want to take more high school kids who would like to fly, under my wing and aid them as far as I can with information and guidance towards funding and the necessary steps to take towards fulfilling their dreams of flying. I’ve got 3 that I’m working with so far to try get them funded to fly once they’re done with high school.
I’m working on evolving Pink Skies into a website that still has the great mood board feeling that it has now but also add a feature that aids young black girls that would like to fly. I’d also like to make it a bit more personal and relatable with some of my day to day activities like my actual flights, meals, workouts and even getaways.
What was the best financial advice you’ve ever received?
The best investment you can make, is an investment in yourself. The more you learn, the more you’ll earn.
In your opinion, what are some of the barriers that prevent women from participating fully in their economies?
I think most of the barriers that women encounter are internal. The biggest being a lack of self-determination. Which I think is a result of years of patriarchy and suppression. But we’re working on it. 🙂
It comes as no surprise that women still earn less than their male counterparts, while doing the same amount of work. Add to that, we take time off to raise and nurture children. Equality is long overdue! These challenges require radical solutions. What do you think is the first step in achieving equality in the workplace?
I don’t think there is equality in the world in general; in the workplace, racially, socially etc. But I sure hope we can achieve it in our lifetime. What I think is that, if women believed in the value that they bring to their industries and were as confident and as uncompromising as men, the steps towards equal pay would be much bigger. As women, we are born nurturers and I think we unconsciously take that into the workplace, which results in us again, unconsciously nursing male egos and compromising ourselves. With that said, I think a radical change in our mind set as women is the first step, and a very important following step is to raise confident, assertive daughters who know their value, vocalise injustices in the workplace and are able to walk away from spaces that don’t serve them or grow them.
What is your favourite quote?
“Don’t have a small vision for your life. You are not inconveniencing God by believing big.” – Unknown.
A. Name a book you’re currently reading and;
B. Name a book that made the most impact on you.
A. What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey
B. Fight Like a Girl – Lisa Bevere
Favourite holiday destination.
Crete, Greece. The perfect mix of culture, relaxation, good cuisine and romance. The architecture makes for some good pictures too.
One fun fact about you.
If I wasn’t a pilot, I would be an interior decorator.
Are you part of any social communities in your city?
Yes, Women and Aviation; an organisation which promotes the advancement and leadership of women in the aviation and space sector through education, networking and mentorship. They also honour the unique history of women in aviation and space and document their achievements. Through their Girl Fly Programme foundation, they aim to empower the next generation of aviation and space leaders in Africa.
You can reach Sive on the following social media platforms;
Blog: Pink Skies