Founder and Executive Director, Women & Aviation
Refilwe Ledwaba is a social entrepreneur, a qualified Pilot (Fixed wing and Rotor wing), an academic passionate about youth development and the economic empowerment of women in Africa. She is the founder and executive director of Girls fly programme in Africa (GFPA) foundation, a STEM education programme in Africa currently operating in South Africa, Botswana and Cameroon. Through the foundation, Refilwe was named and featured on BBC as one of the innovators in Africa. She is a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, council member of the Aeronautical Society of South Africa (AeSSA) outreach team and a recipient of The Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship (AEMSF) for flight training.
Refilwe is a recipient of numerous scholarships, international awards and honours for her visionary work with the NPO organizations she founded. The success of the NPO has led to Refilwe being the recipient of multiple social entrepreneurship awards such as the winner in the entrepreneurship category at the inaugural South African Youth Awards in 2012, the winner of the aviation category of CEO Communication’s most influential Women in Business and Government in 2012 and 2015; and she was listed as one of Top 35 Africans Under 35 to watch by the Young people in international affairs (YPIA) in 2014. In 2018 she was named as one of the Inspiring fifty women in STEM.
Refilwe holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Microbiology and Biochemistry) from the University of Cape Town (UCT), A Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from UCT graduate school of business and an MBA from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of business science. She will be pursuing her PhD in the latter part of 2019. In her free time, she flies all over the country in a C172, landing in remote areas to inspire girls to take up careers in the STEM field. She is a keen photographer and hopes to have her first exhibition of pioneering women Pilots in Africa in 2020.