Find out about the History of Flight Attendants in Zambia

Find out about the History of Flight Attendants in Zambia on Mywage Zambia


By Meluse Kapatamoyo


The history of the cabin crew or air stewardess/steward has its origins in the USA and Europe.


In the US, Stout Airways was first to employ stewards in 1926, working on the Ford Trimotor planes. Pan Am, which was liquidated in 1929, was the first US courier to employ stewards to serve food.


The first female air hostess was a 25-year-old registered nurse named Ellen Church who was hired by United Airlines in 1930.


Soon after, other airlines followed, hiring nurse’s air hostesses or stewardesses on most of their flights.


The requirement to recruit nurses was relaxed at the start of World War II as many nurses enlisted into the armed forces.


Zambian Airways


“Here in Zambia the history of air hostesses dates back to the time of the formation of Zambia Airways (since liquidated) in 1967. Apart from safety and customer service, the airline needed to improve on its image. The emphasis was on attractiveness of their hostesses,” explained, Weston Mapani, an Airline Consultant.


The first hostesses to be employed were Dorothy Tikili, Faith Tonga, the late Mary Mtopu, the late “aunt” Flora Jeffrey Lubiolo, Freda Mwenge, Rita Phiri and a few others.


Men on board


In the late 1960s, the airline decided to recruit men as well and the titles changed from air hostesses to stewardesses. 


Mapani said, “The idea was recruit men and women of good personality to enhance the image of the airline and this was achieved as could be seen from subsequent crew recruitments.” 


The first male stewardesses were the late Larry Mbazima and Sevas Tembo, Binwell Chisha, Joseph Malanje and Sebastian Mainza. 


In addition, the airline had wanted to reinforce the historical recruitment of registered nurses, and this it did by employing two nurses in 1974; the late Tule Machila and Margaret Sambi.


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