African Voices, a magazine programme of the Cable News Network (CNN), this week chronicles the struggles and triumphs of two pilots and a paraglider whose intriguing stories will keep viewers glued to their seats.
Sponsored by telecommunications company, Globacom, African Voices which airs from Friday will celebrate the trio of David Eris Nguruga, a hot air balloon pilot from Kenya; Tumi Carter Katisi, a commercial pilot from Pimville, Soweto in South Africa, and Hans Joachim, a paraglider from Mauritius.
Nguruga’s childhood dream of flying airplanes has careered into a 12-year romance with hot air balloons. He nostalgically takes viewers through his trajectory saying, “I had developed a liking for flying airplanes when I was a kid. I remember, we were having lunch and this fighter jet came out. I stepped on my food just to see this plane. I was like, ‘whoa’. I said I want to be in one. So, I think I developed that from my childhood but never thought that I could do it”. Nguruga subsequently grew from being a member of the crew to a pilot.
Katisi’s love for flying was ignited in the tenth grade when she got an assignment to shadow a professional in the workplace. Falling back on her childhood dream of becoming a doctor, she chose to carry out the assignment in a hospital. Though she reached out to many hospitals, none replied. Wary of failing her assignment, she decided instead to visit her aunt who was a staff member of South African Airways.
Katisi recalled that she would be at the airport at every opportunity she got after that first visit until she became familiar with pilots who shared their secrets with her and allowed her to share in their simulator time. Her big break came when she received communal help to pay her huge fees up to last year when she got her commercial licence. She has since elected to use her experience to train other young South African females who may wish to toe her path.
Joachim engages in the recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure. He sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing from which he has ruled the Mauritius skies, flying like a bird for years.
Says Joachim, “the development of our ability to identify these rising, warmer and therefore lighter air bubbles allows us to paraglide across the island – from North to South and from East to West.”