Mandla Maseko (30) died in a tragic motorcycle accident on Saturday July 6 2019. Maseko would have been the first black African in space.
Affectionately dubbed “Spaceboy” and “Afronaut” by proud Africans, Maseko, who grew up in Soshanguve, was going to be the pioneer of space travel for the continent after he won the Axe Apollo Space Academy competition which would see him journeying into space.
Previously Maseko told the BBC, “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.”
A member of the South African Air Force, Mandla beat a million people to get the spot on the suborbital trip.
Below are some of the tributes that have been pouring in for Maseko and his loved ones from social media users:
We are deeply saddened by the news of Mandla Maseko’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Soshanguve born Mandla became one of just 23 people to get a ticket into space – sponsored by the Axe Apollo Space Academy. He was inspiration to many. #RIPMandlaMaseko pic.twitter.com/wdpPwcldHT
— Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa (@Kgosientso_R) 7 July 2019
I’m saddened to read of the passing of Mandla Maseko who was supposed to be the first black African in space. He was killed in a motorcycle crash. 😢💔
— Ms Visual Korobela 🕊️ (@JustMeka_) 7 July 2019
NEWS: Mandla Maseko, who beat a million people to win a sub-orbital trip that could have seen him become the first black African in space, has reportedly been killed in a motorcycle crash.#RIPMandlaMaseko pic.twitter.com/ou2bPRoNrI
— Phil Mphela (@PhilMphela) 7 July 2019
He was going to be the first BLACK MAN to go on Space! Unfortunately heaven couldn’t wait for him. 😭😭😭😭💔💔💔💔 I’m shattered! Rest Easy Big Bro I Love You! Lala Kahle Ncamane😭😭😭😭😭 #MandlaMaseko pic.twitter.com/cD8MLmsSK1
— Lerato Botle ❤ (@_LiraRae) 7 July 2019