Mandla Maseko was affectionately known as “Afronaut.” He was 30 years old.
By Shenequa Golding, VIBE
Mandla Maseko was going to make history and become the first Black African to go to space, but those plans were foiled when he died Saturday (July 6) after his motorcycle was struck by a car.
According to reports, Maseko was the victor in 2013 when he beat out millions to earn a sub-orbital trip funded by the Axe Apollo Space Academy. The 30-year-old was affectionately known as “Afronaut” or “Spaceboy” and was one of 23 people killed during the accident.
“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,” Sthembile Shabangu, Maseko’s business manager and close friend wrote in a media release.
If the news of his death are true are true, may his soul rest in eternal peace.
Mandla Maseko's life is said to have been cut short after an accident last night. pic.twitter.com/AgrtKhCU4G
— Thato Mahlangu (@YoungAchieverSA) July 7, 2019
The trip was slated to be an hour-long trip on the Lynx Mark II spaceship, however, at the time of Maseko’s death the date for the voyage had not been finalized.
Shabangu said despite Maseko perishing, he would’ve wanted others to continue to dream big dreams.
“There were still rocket tests happening before they could go up,” Shabangu said. “He really thought that if he went up to space he could inspire young African children that they could do anything. He used to always say that the sky was no longer the limit.”
This article originally appeared in VIBE.