A private pilot from Mdantsane, Andisiwe Mngqolo, 26, harboured ambitions from an early age to be a pilot one day now he is living his dream.
Mngqolo said his journey to becoming a pilot began when his mother took out a loan of R30,000 that saw him admitted as a trainee at the Border Aviation Club and Flight School.
“I have always wanted to fly. I always wanted to do something different from the normal routine of many black kids who play it safe and follow the normal courses at university. I always wanted to break free from that route and so my dream to fly was born and it has since grown and matured perfectly ,” the pilot said.
Although having the responsibility of keeping safe the lives of passengers during flights can be a scary one, Mngqolo said a simple prayer before each flight for guidance kept him going.
Mngqolo private pilot counts lack of mentorship within the industry among one of the challenges facing pilots.
“One particular challenge I’ve experienced as a black pilot, is that we lack mentorship from pilots within our ethnic group. This particular field is still white dominated and prices for studying don’t do much justice for a young black child who has high ambitions to fly,” he said.
“Other than that, I’ve also had people from my community tell me that I’d never make it and that my dreams were too big.”
Businessman Sisa Ngebulana and his cousin, Anele Mabi are some of his biggest inspirations.
“Mr Ngebulana, for his humble beginnings to building an empire. Mr Mabi for constantly pushing me to do better with my life and never giving up on seeing me do better is what has helped me turn my life around,” he said.
Mngqolo would also love to fly abroad to more luxurious destinations for the experience as well as the sight-seeing.
“The most important lesson I’ve learnt on this journey is that your life, your goals, your aspirations, and deepest desires are in your hands. Pray to God, get up, and get it done – nothing is beyond anyone,” he advised young people who wanted to achieve goals.
“It is people like Andisiwe, who have raw passion coupled with the correct attitude and a solid belief system, who succeed in the field of professional aviation,” Border Aviation treasurer, Rob Williamson said.
“He has drawn inspiration from others and has made it happen despite the various challenges faced along the path to becoming a pilot,” he said.