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Sibongile Sambo: Elevating Beyond Rejection To Big Achievements


“Everytime I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.”

– Steve Maraboli


You might have suffered so many rejections in life that make you wonder why life is so unfair and all up against you but that shouldn’t be the case.Rejection will come but it shouldn’t be a stop mechanism for us but a growth mechanism. Life can never be filled with an ‘all-yes’ situation, at times a ‘no’ is also part of learning and development. Sometimes rejections are just blessings in disguise that something better awaits us if only we are patient enough to see beyond our present predicament.

Looking beyond rejection is Sibongile Sambo, the pioneering woman of South Africa’s aviation industry.She is the founder and CEO of SRS Aviation – Africa’s first female-owned aviation company. Sibongile, a graduate of University of Zulu land, was rejected by South African Airways for not meeting the height requirement needed to become a flight attendant. She refused to quit on her dream to thrive in the aviation industry and overcame discouragement start her own airline business.  Raising the capital of her business from selling her car and cashing out her mother’s pension, Sibongile dared to do the impossible in, not just an industry she got turned down in, but a male-dominated one.

Despite the turbulence and challenges peculiar to breaking the norm in business, SRS Aviation Company succeeded in receiving an Air Operating Certificate by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) allowing it to operate commercial flying activities. She also won a major government contract as, in 2014, she was commissioned with her first flight for the South African government and she formed a  partnership with MCC Aviation, an established aviation company in South Africa that grants her access to a fleet of aircraft as well as technical and operational support. She has created her own unique aviation company that offers luxury and personalized flight options to destinations spanning across the world. So far, the Johannesburg based crew has flown as far as Germany and the US.

She dreams of having more South African women working not only in the skies but also making a difference in the industry. Consequently, she has helped three women get their private pilot licenses and employment. With other growth plans for expansion, Sibongile aims to uphold the highest safety standard and become the preferred choice in affordable air service solutions for individuals and businesses, both locally and globally.

That the road ahead looks bleak, unending and filled with its own obstacles should never make us quit so soon because the next bend might just be our target. “No” is not the only answer in this world, for every ‘no’ you must have gotten, there will definitely be a ‘yes’ as long as you stay encouraged. Don’t quit just yet, try again.


Image from Black Main Street.

Khemmie Ray
A passionate writer whose world revolves around arts and aesthetics.

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