Meet The First Female Pilot In Ghana, Melody Millicent Danquah.
In the past, women were only regarded to be in the kitchen and doing house chores. When it comes to the issues of formal education, they were left out. But at a certain point in time, Dr. Kwagyir Aggrey implemented the idea of women also taking part in formal Education. He was one of the people who helped in developing Ghana’s education system.
He said; “If you educate a man, you educate an individual but when you educate a woman, you educate a nation”. This was to back his argument that female education was also important.
The massive involvement of female in formal education has brought a positive impact to the society.
One of these positive outcomes the first female pilot in Ghana, Melody Millicent Danquah.
The life and story of the first Ghanaian Female pilot. Meet Melody Millicent Danquah.
Towards the end of 1963, three ladies were recruited into the Ghana Air Force to be trained as female pilots. Among them was Melody Millicent Danquah.
The first female Ghanaian pilot was born on January 6th 1937 at Larteh Akuapim. She was born to Selina Gyamfi and Ibinijah Rexford Addo Danquah, one who worked as as
court registrar and abitrator. Melody attended Methodist Primary and Middle School and furthered at Wesley Girls Senior High School in the Central Region of Ghana (Cape Coast).
Melody enrolled in the Ghana Air Force after reading an advert in a newspaper during the era of Dr Kwame Nkrumah. The president had asked women to apply to be trained as pilots as part of efforts to build an effective Armed Force and improve Aviation sector.
In the Air Force Training School
Melody was first in her class and as Flt. Cadet Danquah during their training at Ghana Air Force. She flew alone for the first time in a De Havilland Canada DHC-1 chipmunk aircraft carrier on June 22, 1964. This made her the first Ghanaian and African woman ever to fly an aeroplane single handedly.
In October 1964, she became the only student pilot allowed some ten minutes of solo flying time. This was during an Air Force Day organised in Takoradi, where she ended with a spotless landing to the admiration of many including Dr Nkrumah. On April 15, 1965, Melody was presented with her wings as a qualified pilot by Kofi Baako, the then Minister Of Defence.
The squadron leader ended her flying career in June 1968 and was transferred to the Administration Branch of the Force. Due to ill-health, Melody was discharged from the Force in 1784. She was given a long service award and the Efficiency Medal.
In 2006, former president John Kuffour honoured her with the companion of the order of the volta in recognition of her ground breaking spirit and courage. After she came out of the military service, Melody worked briefly with the World Food Programme and the National Service Secretarial in Ghana.
At age 60, she entered the Bible School where she earned her Diploma in Bible studies and Theology. She also preached in military circles as a lay preacher. She later became member of the Board of Directors for the Ghana Institute Of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) with Prof. Stephen Adei as the Rector.
She passed away on March 18, 2016 at the age of 79. She was a role model to a lot of women in Ghana and Africa. Melody showed that women can also do better. She has a daughter, Professor Angela Lamensdorf Ofori Atta, a linical psychologist at the University of Ghana school of medicine and dentistry.