A South African who would have been the first black African man in space has died in a freak motorbike incident.
The would-be first Afronaut died in a road accident
Mandla Maseko, who was not only a determined astronaut, was also a music lover which led him to becoming a part-time DJ. Mandla added the role of a contender officer with the South Africa Air Force after gaining and wining the competition that made him a qualified candidate for the task. His death came as a shock to his family members and well-wishers, who were proudly awaiting him to fulfill his dreams of becoming the first Africa to fly to space.
According to his family spokesman, Sthembile Shebangu, who confirmed and disclosed the throbbing tragedy to the media, the 30-year-old Mandla Maseko was involved in the accident on Saturday which took his youthful life. He went further to explain how deep Maseko will be missed by his friends and most especially his family.
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Maseko died too young to achieve a lofty dream
More information on Mandla Maseko
Maseko was raised at Soshanguve, Northern Pretoria and passed the qualification as the best candidate while beating one million persons from 75 countries and winning the sub-orbital trip that could have made him the first black man in space. Thus, he gained the nickname, “Afronaut”.
In preparing to make him suitable for the trip, Maseko stayed a week at the Kennedy Space Academy in Florida. There he skydived and commenced an air combat and G-force training. During his training days, he met and took pictures with Buzz Aldrin, who is man number 2 to step on the lunar surface after Neil Armstrong as part of the 1969 Apollo 11 space mission.
Not permitting any setbacks to stop him from achieving his dreams, Maseko was born to an auto tool fabricator and a school cleaner in Soshanguve Township near Pretoria. Ever since he won the competition, he had gained many felicitations from South Africans for giving their country a good name and launching South Africa into the "galactic race."
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Maseko with his big dream was truly a source of inspiration for African youth
Maseko said during his interview with BBC, years ago when he won the competition.
“I wanted to do something that will motivate and inspire the youth of South Africa and Africa as a whole, and hopefully to some extent, the youth worldwide, and show that it doesn’t matter what background you come from, you can have whatever you want as long as you put hard work and determination into it”
The space flight which he would have flown was scheduled as an hour-long sub-orbital trip that is on a Lynx Mark II Spaceship. Though, it was yet to occur at the time of his death.
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