10 December 2004

First black woman to be part of the South African navy's diving unit

Cape Town - "Hold on and focus." This is what has brought marine Nompumelelo Goba, 21, the first black woman to be part of the South African navy's diving unit, where she is today.

She passionately explained how "curiosity" played an important role in her choice of career.

"People initially said I was 'crazy' and would never manage to do it."

She is the only woman in the group of just five black divers in the South African navy.

Commodore Shawn de Boer, commander of this unit, had a lot of praise of Goba on Thursday and said her success wasn't tokenism in any way. "She has what it takes and I will place my life in her hands under water."

He said the navy had a critical shortage in divers of about 55% at present.

"In Durban, for example, there are only five divers instead of 16. Our divers are mostly lured away by commercial diving units because of their (navy divers') professionalism," he added.

Captain Peter Smith of the Simonstown navy base said more financial support and direct contact with communities to identify potential divers could solve their problem.

He said wrong candidates have been identified in the past, which has led to low success rates.

Next year, the navy will be training 16 new recruits of which 13 will be black. The elite divers of the navy are responsible for submarine rescues, under-water bomb detonations as well as air and sea rescues.

Goba described her seven months of training as "intellectually challenging" and expressed the hope that more women would join the navy's diving unit.


At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the First woman Nicolette Seger who made the navy diving course in 1996 and is qualified to 54m on air and mixture gasses. She is just so important to be mentioned, don`t you think. It is the new South Africa????


Post a Comment

<< Home