South Africa's first female submarine navigator dies at sea

Credit: Picryl. A South African Navy Seaman Michella O'Dell watches her ship, SAS Amatola (F145)
November 13, 2023

Lieutenant Commander Gillian Malouw, South Africa's first female submarine navigator, was one of three to die at sea on September 16. Master Warrant Officer William Masela Mathipa and Warrant Officer Mmokwapa Lucas Mojela were among the other victims.

The three submariners were washed off their vessel by unusually high waves off the coast of Cape Town when a helicopter was delivering supplies.

Malouw first joined the navy in 2010, and qualified as a combat officer in 2018. In 2019, she qualified as a navigator, becoming the first woman to do so in the country and across the African continent. Very few women hold the title globally.

In a 2019 radio interview, Malouw stated "The world is filled with naysayers and negativity but no-one can take away what you've learnt and no-one can take away your dreams".

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