Saturday 12 September 2015

First African woman to take command of navy vessel

This is simply a re-posting of articles on the first African woman to take command of a navy vessel.

From Wed 26 August 2015 Lieutenant Commander Zimasa Mabela was 'at the helm of SAS Umhloti.' A senior Naval Officer, Lieutenant Obed Medupe says 'We are looking up at more women taking over commanding vessels.'
Her's is a counter measures ship. Ships in that River class carry 40 personnel and weigh about 390 tons. Other women in command in the UK Navy started off on smiliar small ships in the late 1990s.
You can find more photos and even a video at shows Zimasa Mabela with her husband, Ivan, their two daughters and her mother at the ceremony in Simon's Town on 26 August 2015. Picture Monique Mortlock/EWN

In the Cape Times the next day Francesca Villette added detail. Lieutenant-Commander Zimasa Mabela joined the South African Navy in 1999.
'Mabela, originally from the Eastern Cape, joined the Navy in 1999 as a telecommunications radio official because she was “fascinated” by the force.
'In 2004 she completed the Military Training for Officers course in Gordon’s Bay and then the Combat Officer qualifying course at the Navy’s maritime warfare training centre.
'She joined the frigate SAS Isandlwana in 2005 and was appointed as the Assistant Operations Officer, where she obtained the Officer of the Day qualification.
'In 2006, Mabela obtained her Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate and was later appointed as the Assistant Weapons Officer.
Commander Brian Short, former commander of the vessel, handed over command to Mabela at a ceremony at the Simon’s Town Naval Base.


'Lieutenant-Commander Zimasa Mabela said “I remember how excited I was when I first got accepted to be a part of the Navy. I am proud to be the first black African woman to command a naval vessel. But, more than the title, I want to be an example to my crew.
'“I want to be judged on my ability to command, and not my gender.
'“Everyone has their own unique way of leading and to be in command you need the right attitude and personality.That is what will take you far.”
'Without divulging much state-secret information, Mabela said the vessel she will command is currently used for training new recruits and performing rescue operations.' (

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