Awards / 2017 Award Winners

 Mahlatsi Mokonyane  (in her own words)

"My name is Mahlatsi Mokonyane. I'm a 21 year old girl with passion for aviation. I was born and raised in Mabopane, Pretoria. I'm the first of 2 kids from a single mother, but I was raised by my great grandmother, and other family members. I completed my matriculation in 2013 at St Aquinas College, and then attended the University of Pretoria (UP) to study a Bachelor of Sciences in Meteorology. While studying at UP, I applied for the South African Air Force Cadet Pilot Programme. I did my basic military training from July 2015 to January 2016, and then completed my Officers Forming Course in June 2016 at the South African Air Force College. I currently still serve in the South African Air Force (SAAF), and await my Basic Flying Pilot Phase (ab initio training phase) to begin. 

I discovered aviation when I was 8 years old, and went on a school excursion to O.R Tambo International Airport. From the moment I set my eyes on that airplane, I knew that was what I wanted to do: spend the rest of my life flying airplanes. Attending flight school open days, and airshows has inspired, connected and motivated me further to realise my childhood dream. 

Over 13 years later, I still dream of flying thousands of feet about the ground, looking down and experiencing a perfect peace, mingled with excitement, that strains every nerve in the body. The thrill and responsibility of being in command of a multi-million dollar aircraft and the total adrenaline rush you get when the aircraft takes off...coming in on final approach at the end of the day, knowing that in the morning you get to do it all again. I can't think of a better job in the world! 

I'm a very passionate, career-orientated, focused, and hard working individual. My education at school developed in me responsibility and leadership, and I achieved the following at school: a Scholar Patrol (6th Grade); Deputy Head Girl (7th Grade); a Safety Conscious Leader (11th Grade); and Head Girl (12th Grade). I'm also a team player, and am able to lead and to follow. 

I have always wanted to become a commercial pilot and fly for big airlines such as SAA, UAE, DLH, BAW, or Qatar. I am on the right path with the SAAF and my training as a pilot, which I hope will open opportnities for me train and to fly a commercial airplane, transporting passengers from point A to B...and even one day, become an airline captain."

 Elijah Vio  (in his own words)

"My name is Elijah Vio. From the age of 10, I have been chasing adventure. In primary school I was passionate about athletics and soccer. I remember a day when travelling in a school bus for a soccer match, I spotted a hot air balloon, and wanted to show my friends, no one was as excited as I was, and only I saw it. I didn’t know what it was called then, and my friends laughed at me. It was a painful day, but also one that ignited my passion for flying.

During my high school years at Bokgoni Technical Secondary School, my maths teacher, Karabo Njoro, chose me as a candidate to participate in a program offered by the South African Model Aircraft Association (SAMAA). In 2011, at a SAMAA event, I met Simon Tladi who was conducting a demonstration with radio controlled aircrafts, and a workshop for building Delta Dart Model Airplanes. I loved it so much that I started a club at my school called the Bokgoni Electric Flying Club (BEFC). After that, I never looked back and start attending airshows."

 Zandile Ngobe  (in her own words)

"My name is Zandile Ngobe. I am a young, black female who deeply aspires to be a commercial pilot. Born and raised in Protea North, Soweto, I developed a burning passion for aviation as an unconventional career choice immediately after leaving high school. Having had the opportunity to study a BSC in Construction at Wits Unversity, I opted to venture into aviation in order to fulfil my childhood dream.

I am currently studying towards my Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) at Rand Airport and my love for the aviation industry at large grows deeper by the day.

I continue to make a positive impact by using my training as a pilot to inspire young aspiring pilots in townships by giving talks at youth day festivals, churches and schools predominantly in my community. I realized my operation in aviation is not solely hinge on me, but has impacted and ignited hope and passion in others who look up to me."