PRETORIA, October 19 (ANA) – Born and raised in Zimbabwe’s small mining town of Gwanda, southeast of Bulawayo, Inobubele Dube had always been fascinated by aeroplanes – “and how they stayed in the sky without falling like everything that goes up”, in her words…

“The first time I flew with my parents was in 2009 – I was 10-years-old – and I just knew after that flight that this is what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to be that person who keeps the aeroplane in the sky. So from there, in everything I did, I was conscious of the dream that I had. At A-Level in school I did mathematics, physics, and geography,” an ecstatic Dube told the African News Agency (ANA) next to a waiting Cessna 172 aircraft which she was to keep in the sky, but under the watchful eye of flight instructor Sethu Magwentshu.

“We are not a rich family, and I’m not from a rich background. We never had the flashiest clothes or the latest gadgets that other children had. As a child, sometimes, it makes you feel like an outcast. It makes you feel like you’re not as good as the rest. I’m a small-town girl from Gwanda. Sometimes I ask myself – who else from Gwanda has managed to get to a point such as this. I’m a black girl in this male dominated industry, but I am determined to get there.”

Accepted by Flight Training Services

Being accepted by Flight Training Services, a flight crew training institution based at Grand Central Airport in Midrand, Johannesburg, was a landmark in Dube’s life. But the financial demands left her shell-shocked.

“I was over the moon. I was ecstatic, but now they sent me a price list. I was like, huh? How am I going to pay these fees? At that time I thought I wasn’t going to get there. I managed to manoeuvre. I met Mr Maphosa  [Gauteng-based Zimbabwean businessman Justice Maphosa] and here I am. I was really looking for a sponsorship, scholarship, or someone who could lessen the load. I knew my parents wouldn’t be able to foot the bill,” she said.

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A keen Dube knocked on every door, until former minister of state for provincial affairs in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland South province Abednico Ncube called Maphosa, who also hails from Gwanda, and has a few community upliftment projects running.

By chance, Maphosa was to be in Zimbabwe in the coming days and at her first meeting with the businessman and philanthropist, in January 2018, Dube had her first major deal in the bag.

“He said he was going to pay for everything. That includes my tuition, accommodation [in Gauteng], and giving me an allowance. He covers everything… he literally came to my rescue. I did not know which way to turn; I did not know what to do. From the moment I met him, everything just solved itself out. I am so grateful to him,” said Dube.

October 19 – Twenty-one-year-old Inobubele Dube and flight instructor Sethu Magwentshu at the Grand Central Airport in Midrand, Gauteng. Photo: ANA/Jonisayi Maromo ;

Bigtime Strategic Group

Maphosa is the founder and chief executive of the multi-portfolio Bigtime Strategic Group with diverse interests in information communications technology (ICT) and finance in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Fast forwarding to October 2019, Dube, now aged 21, has taken off from the busy Grand Central Airport in Gauteng three times, and according to her flight instructor Sethu Magwentshu, she was born to keep aeroplanes in the sky.

“On our flight [on Wednesday] she actually flew the aeroplane back by herself, unassisted by me. That is very good for someone at her level. She is progressing very well and I’m quite happy. I think she will probably go solo and meet all the requirements sooner than most students,” said Magwentshu.

October 19 – Her dream of getting a private pilot’s license now in sight, 21-year-old Inobubele Dube goes through her pre-flight procedures under the watchful eye of flight instructor Sethu Magwentshu at the Grand Central Airport in Midrand, Gauteng. Photo: ANA/Jonisayi Maromo ;

“Unparalleled passion”

Equally enchanted was Maphosa’s spokesperson Mthokozisi Dube [unrelated to Inobubele], who told journalists that the young girl’s unparalleled passion is what immediately drew Bigtime Strategic Group to fully bankroll her dream.

“Interestingly, Inobubele is also in a [gospel music] group called Hybrid Sounds, which we have had at the Gwanda Gospel Festival over the last two years. We decided last year that we would give a chance to young people, get them on stage with renowned gospel artists from South Africa so that they can learn from them. That has materialised and we have seen Hybrid Sounds collaborating with Mkhululi Bhebhe, formerly of Joyous Celebration,” said Mthokozisi.

“Inobubele now does both her music and pilot training. It will be nice one day to tell a story of how a young girl was able to realise her dream of becoming a pilot, and perhaps record a gospel album with the group [Hybrid Sounds]. That’s the kind of legacy that we would want to create.”

Bigtime Strategic Group annually hosts the free-entry Gwanda International Gospel Festival in Zimbabwe with the 2019 fifth edition held earlier this month showcasing a star-studded lineup, including South African legend Sipho Makhabane, Shongwe, and the Khuphuka Saved Group from Swaziland, Bhebhe and Takesure Zamar Ncube.


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Author: ANA Newswire