The stereo type that Africa cannot invent its own technology without external help has long been a subject for debate with less than 1% of the entire GDP of the continent being spent on research and development. Well there are still some enthusiastic crop of African youths shining a light on our innovations and breaking barriers that have never been achieved before on this continent. Standing on the shoulders of giants 20 young African teenagers from South Africa developed, built and assembled a plane in a space of 3 weeks. Professional pilots say it would take about 3000 man hours to assemble this type of plane called the sling 4 whose kit is locally manufactured in South Africa meaning it would take approximately about 17 weeks to complete the assembly of the fully working plane thus these youngsters have definitely achieved a great feat.
Not only did they just build the plane the young lads flew it 12,000 kilometers across the African continent landing in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and then finally their last destination in Cairo, Egypt.
In an interview with BBC, Megan Werner one of the 17 year old pilots who flew the plane, and founder of U-Dream Global project said “I’m so honored to have made a difference around the continent at the places we’ve stopped. The purpose of the initiative is to show Africa that anything is possible if you set your mind to it,” she added.
Another of the planes that are locally manufactured in South Africa was flown by professional pilots, to provide support and accompany the young teenage pilots who are licensed to fly only at a height where the ground is still visible and not above the clouds. The young Pan-Africans whose goal was to give motivational talks to other African youths along their 3-week journey around Africa said they encountered a number of challenges along their way that made their mission very complicated when the support plane that was flying along with them started leaking and couldn’t continue along with them from Addis Ababa Ethiopia. “Driaan van den Heever and I flew alone for 10 hours, without the support aircraft, so it was two teenagers, all by ourselves with no support,” Megan said. The pair managed to gather their grit and complete their flight to Cairo Egypt which was a very astonishing accomplishment given the age of these young innovators who are flying the African flag high worldwide.