A 19-year-old Bindura-born flying sensation has become the youngest pilot in the country after passing his aviation studies with flying colours.
Mr Simbarashe Machigere was awarded a commercial pilot licence on May 5, 2019, by the East African Aviation School based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Before him, the youngest pilot in the country was 21- year-old Mr Kalenga Kamwendo, who is based in Zambia.
Mr Machigere attained his qualification in style, after shattering the aviation academy’s record for flying solo at 29 hours of training.
He told The Herald yesterday from Addis Ababa that while he is excited at the achievement, it was not easy.
“Training for a commercial pilot license was not an easy walk in the park.
“You needed to apply yourself intellectually, emotionally and physically. You really required undivided attention,” said Mr Machigere.
“But I praise the Lord and also thank him for making me a Zimbabwean.
“Being the youngest trainee in the East African Aviation School in Ethiopia, I have made history by flying solo at 29 hours of training. I couldn’t believe it but I made.”
Unlike other Zimbabweans that strive to abandon their country for the Diaspora, Mr Machigere actually wants to leave his Addis Ababa base in the next few weeks and come back home to look for a job.
“Now that I am done and I have passed with flying colours, I will not stay in the Diaspora. I want to go back to Zimbabwe and join a viable airline,” he said.
Mr Machigere told fellow youths in Zimbabwe that “nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it”.
He added that everything is achievable, never mind one’s geography, and “make Zimbabwe proud”.
His father, Mr Saston Mapfaka Machigere, who is Minister-Counsellor at the Zimbabwean Embassy in Addis Ababa, said he was overjoyed by the son’s achievement.
“Simbarashe has made us proud; me and my wife Agnes, we are so happy. If I am not mistaken, Simbarashe becomes the youngest ever pilot in Zimbabwe at 19 years.
“He is our first born in a family of three boys. Being based in Ethiopia where the Ethiopian Airways has been the leading airline in Africa, was the motivation and inspiration for him to join the aviation school,” said Mr Machigere.
He confirmed that his son is coming to Zimbabwe to convert his license so that he can join any “viable airline” in the country.
Mr Machigere said already, there is an airline keen to take his son once he converts his license.
The youthful pilot was born on July 3, 1999 in Bindura where he did his primary at Shashi Primary School.
He then did his High School at Greek Community School in Ethiopia.