Kalenga Kamwendo thought it inconceivable that a person like him would ever fly a plane, especially more so in his lowly town Kitwe, that didn’t have an airport, or Zambia, a country with a meagre aviation industry.
Kamwendo took up the challenge to change the status quo.
His story is quite intriguing, initially he wanted to be an Engineer like his father, but a grade school trip to the airport in Ndola changed his perspective. Coming from humble beginnings, Kalenga was out to change the narrative that only the rich could become pilots. Thankfully, after extensive research, he applied for Forty Three’s short course, where he was accepted. His supportive parents were able to raise the fees.
In 2012, at the tender age of seventeen, he flew a plane for the first time at Forty Three Air School at Port Alfred in South Africa. Since that step forward, Kalenga has flown more than 2,600 hours after joining Proflight as the youngest pilot in the country at 20. A year later, 19-year-old Besa Mumba broke his record at Proflight.
After graduation, he struggled for a year, looking for a job, travelling long hours by bus to several companies to remind them of his availability as a pilot. On his 20th birthday, Proflight offered him the job. Last year, Proflight even granted Kalenga a rare privilege of flying his parents.
Kalenga reflects on his experiences as life changing. With a mix of humility, aspiration and success, he is set to attain greater heights. This month, he launched the KK Foundation to support orphans and vulnerable children in achieving their “big dreams”.
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