Onalenna Lekwapa joined Wilderness Air Botswana earlier this year and is proud to have joined a company that has given her the opportunity to make a bigger difference to her community. In between her aviation commitments, she also finds the time to play an active role in some of Wilderness Safaris and Children in the Wilderness (CITW) community outreach programmes.
Onalenna comes from Tonota, close to Francistown in eastern Botswana. She was raised by a ‘sisterhood’ of strong women including her mother, grandmother and several aunts who inspired her with their indomitable spirit. After 12 years of schooling, Onalenna decided to study medicine and pursue a career as a cardiac surgeon, which naturally thrilled the women who raised her. At this critical juncture, however, she heard about the IAS Aviation Academy, and this is where it all began.
As her curiosity about flying increased, Onalenna realised that she was falling in love with all things airborne and despite her family’s concern about her change in plans, she joined the IAS Aviation Academy in Gaborone in 2015. She soon achieved her Commercial Pilot’s License with an Instrument Flying rating, and then her Multi-Engine rating in August 2016.
As a fully qualified pilot, she headed to Maun in search of work. Her first interview with Wilderness Air made quite an impression on Onalenna and she was thrilled to have found an air charter company with a genuine interest in developing people. Now that she has joined the Wilderness Air crew, Onalenna enjoys having the opportunity to explore the Okavango Delta, and to interact with people from many different walks of life.
In gratitude for having her dream job, Onalenna spends much of her free time giving back to society. She is actively involved in the #Girls_For_Jesus programme, which works with girls and young women in Botswana’s secondary and senior schools and addresses issues of identity, the role of women in society, and career prospects for talented students.
Onalenna has also become a Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Eco-Mentor as this allows her to make a difference to the lives and futures of some of the youngest of her fellow citizens. CITW Eco-Mentors interact with the children as counsellors, friends and, most importantly, role models; the last is something that Onalenna can fulfil with pride.