The South African Air Force (SAAF) on 11 May held a ceremony to accept Kgosi Leruo Tshekedi Molotlegi, the 36th King of the Royal Bafokeng Nation, as Honorary Colonel of 44 Squadron.
The ceremony took place at Air Force Base Waterkloof outside Pretoria. The SAAF said Molotlegi is a fixed wing and rotorcraft pilot and in 2010 was appointed Honorary Colonel of 16 Squadron at AFB Bloemspruit. In 2017 he accepted the position of Honorary Colonel of 44 Squadron.
Molotlegi is the 36th King of the 150 000 strong Royal Bafokeng Nation and has served as King since 2000. The Royal Bafokeng Nation covers 1 000 square kilometres approximately 100 km northwest of Pretoria.
The appointment of Honorary Colonels is an established South African National Defence Force (SANDF) tradition, as they help build relationships for the units at which they are attached through the Honorary Colonel network and assist in ensuring the maintenance of various customs and traditions. They also build and develop community support for their units by providing a public profile for the unit, the SAAF said.
Molotlegi is a graduate of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He currently serves as the Chancellor of North West University.
44 Squadron flies CASA 212 light transport aircraft and is based at AFB Waterkloof. During the ceremony on Thursday, two C212s performed a flypast for the assembled guests.