Mandla Maseko: First African meant to travel to Space dies
The dreams of Mandla Maseko, the first black African who have always desired to travel to space was cut short after his family confirmed his death on Sunday.
In 2014, Maseko, 30, widely called Spaceboy and Afronaut won ahead of 1 million people to become among the 23 people who won a seat sponsored by the Axe Apollo Space Academy, on an hour-long sub-orbital trip.
However, Maseko trip to space was not meant to be after he was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle on Saturday morning.
“He was bigger than life figure. We are all still reeling at the moment. We are very overwrought because most people only found out this on Monday morning. It is still very hard, tragic and painful. His death came as a shock to many,” said his business manager and close friend Sthembile Shabangu.
Shabangu said that even though Maseko did not end up going to space, he would have desired that his dreams be achieved which will bring glory to Africa.
“There were still test running the rocket before they could go up. He really believed that if he went up to space he could inspire young African children that anything is possible. He used to always say that the sky was no longer the limit.”
She added: “He wasn’t selfish and was an ambitious person with big dreams.”
It was reported that Maseko had gone on to train as a private pilot and became a CPL with the South African National Defence Force.
Shabangu revealed that Maseko, who is also as a community worker and public speaker, worked to inspire many African children to pursue careers in science.
While in 2016, he was honored by the Gauteng Department of Education and he was also named after the science building at the Curtis Nkondo School of Specialisation.