Meet South Africa’s Very First All-Female Firefighting Crew

By Bertram Malgas


Meet Team Juliet, South Africa’s first all-female firefighting crew.

Stationed at the Working on Firebase in Newlands, the Nature Conservation Corporation Wildfires crew have been working together for three months.

The 16-woman team, who graduated from the Chrysalis Academy, completed tough basic firefighting training, preparing them to face the gruelling Cape Town wildfire season.

Superintendent Kylie Paul, who heads up the crew, told News24 that it was important that there was a space for women.

“We’ve started with an all-female crew, to show that we can do it. And to show that we can do it well,” she said.

 The team is currently looking to secure a permanent base. Paul hopes the programme will be able to train women so that they can be integrated into larger firefighting teams.

“The ultimate goal is for us to integrate into the male crews… So that we become, not male firefighters or female firefighters, but firefighters.”

 Team member Anathi Galada said she was proud to be part of the all-female crew.

“When I walk through the community in my uniform, everyone greets me. They can see that I am doing something with my life,” she said.

Team leader Lindokuhle Filo, who has always wanted to be a firefighter, told News24 that she was nervous while fighting her first fire a short while ago.

“I was very nervous. I kept thinking, what if the fire reached where we are and we die,” she said.

But once she tackled her first blaze, she couldn’t wait for the next call. The team has attended three different fires in their time together, Filo said.

“It’s a great feeling after the first callout. Knowing that I want to do this and that I’m passionate about it,” she said.


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