Mandla Maseko from South Africa whose dream was to become the first African to travel to space has died in a motor accident.
He beat a million people to win a sub-orbital trip that could have seen him become the first black African in space.
Maseko, popularly known as Spaceboy and Afronaut, was one of 23 people who won a seat on a trip to space.
That trip was being sponsored by the Axe Apollo Space Academy.
The space flight scheduled to be an hour-long sub-orbital trip on the Lynx Mark II spaceship was yet to happen.
His family’s spokesperson Sthembile Shabangu said in statement on Sunday that “It is with deep sadness that the Maseko family confirms that Mandla Maseko tragically passed away in a bike accident last night, July 6 2019.”
The statement added that “Maseko will be sorely missed. May Mandla Maseko’s kind and beautiful soul rest in eternal peace.”
Maseko, 30, grew up in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria. He was a candidate officer in the South African Air Force.
He said in a BBC news interview that “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.”
Social media tribute
Tributes have been pouring in from South Africans for the late Maseko.
Walt Disney never got see Disneyland, Moses never reached promised Land Chris Hani and Oliver thambo never experienced freedom. Salute mindlos your names shall be mentioned amongst King and queens #RIPMandlaMaseko
— I follow back (@J10_ZA) July 7, 2019
— IG: ac_corey (@siyabulelagand3) July 7, 2019
You are a perfect example of “going all out for what you love and believe in”. You will be a Brighest Star in the Sky. pic.twitter.com/q3hfc1BeRy
— Ntokozo Starring Zul (@Ntokozostarring) July 7, 2019
— Hlabi 👩🏽🎓 (@Hlabi_Davhana) July 7, 2019
I wonder whose gonna compliment me and teach me life great lessons
Your life will always be an inspiration if there is one thing that am gonna adopt from you is making sure that my loved ones are happy ❤️❤️❤️#RIPMandlaMaseko pic.twitter.com/FFEAXeT3IY
— goitseona ngubeni (@Geepeengubs) July 7, 2019
I can’t believe you’ve departed buddy !!! You were meant to go to space in a few years 😩😭💔 #RIPSpaceboy #RIPAfronaut #RIPMandlaMaseko on your way up I hope you pass by space. 🙏🏾@MandlaMaseko1 pic.twitter.com/8SawMuGhrH
— AviationDevelopmentInAfrica (@A380Capt_Tumi) July 7, 2019