In 2011 a shy Grade 7 Makuleke boy named Destiny Wisani Hlungwani attended a Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Eco-Camp in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Along with the other children on camp, he wrote down his dream profession and placed it in the ‘dream catcher’ at the end of camp.
The word he wrote was ‘pilot’, and he still has the wrinkled slip of paper he wrote it on. His dream grew and in 2017 Destiny graduated high school with six distinctions; following this, he enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand to study aeronautical engineering.
That dream catcher submission is now paying dividends, and Destiny will be graduating at the end of the year, and looking for employment in the aeronautics sector!
One particularly life-changing experience for Destiny was meeting Mike White, CITW SA Board Chairman, CITW benefactor – and light aircraft owner at an event in June 2019. Given their mutual interest, it came to pass that on a bright day in August of that year, Mike introduced Destiny to flying.
Destiny picks up the story. “I got to learn so much – from the pre-flight inspection to all the complexities of flying an aircraft. I was very nervous at first, as it was my first private plane flight, but it was really exciting and motivating. I hope to still get my Private Pilot’s Licence, to be able to fly, and also give others the experience I had on this unforgettable day. I have to thank Mike so much for the experience… no words can express how grateful I am, as he did this at his personal expense. When we were finally in the air, Mike gave me the controls to his Cessna. The feeling was super amazing, as I never thought in my life I would get to fly an airplane. I was just a village boy – who got the opportunity of a lifetime”.
Destiny speaks fondly about his life-changing experiences with CITW, in his personal life as well as the difference he was able to make to the environment around his home village of Makuleke. Destiny, and young CITW people like him, represent the future of Africa’s future leaders, and we are proud to know them.