From township to private school: Aspiring pilot, 18, reaching new heights

From township to private school: Aspiring pilot, 18, reaching new heights

- Xolisa Shenxani, 18, has always dreamt of becoming a pilot

- In 2017, he got a break after meeting representatives from the South African Air Force

- Now, he needs the help of South Africans to realise his dream completely

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Xolisa Shenxani from Sir Lowry’s Pass Village in Cape Town, managed to overcome several obstacles to work towards his dream of becoming a pilot.

Shenxani came from a disadvantaged background, having lost his mother at the age of seven and moving from household to household.

“In those challenges, I learned lots of lessons. It made me the person I am today. I told myself that I wasn’t going to give up, even though I was going through all the challenges that I was going through. My mother told me I must do my best in everything I do and that life isn't going to be easy,” he said.

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From township to private school: Aspiring pilot, 18, reaching new heights

Xolisa Shenxani. Photo credit: Supplied.
Source: UGC

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According to his mentor, Philip Bellstedt, Shenxani is seen as a role model in his community. The 31-year-old met the aspiring pilot three-years-ago.

Bellstedt offers freely accessible maths tutoring program, which he started in the local library.

“Through our weekly tutoring sessions, I got to know Xolisa to be a very bright, hard-working boy. With a tiny bit of help once a week, he managed to improve his maths dramatically and by the end of 2016, he received the prize for the most improved in maths in his grade. I got to see first hand not only his academic potential but his leadership skills," the mentor said.
From township to private school: Aspiring pilot, 18, reaching new heights

Shenxani in the cockpit/ Photo credit: Supplied
Source: UGC

Bellstedt saw potential in Shenxani, so, he and his girlfriend, Samantha Lee, went to tour private schools and managed to get him into False Bay High School.

Shenxani could not believe he was attending a private school now. gathered he had to catch up on the backlog from grade 10.

He also takes extra maths, science and English lessons to improve his results in order to qualify for the South African Air Force’s pilot training program.

During the week, Shenxani lives with Bellstedt’s parents, Dirk and Friederike Bellstedt.

"My family and I have fully invested in Xolisa’s future. My parents are always there to offer a hug, a sandwich, a lift or a word of encouragement. We all have high hopes for Xolisa’s matric year, based on the progress he has made and his ability to embrace every opportunity that comes his way," Bellstedt said.

However, although things have been looking up for the 18-year-old, he needs Mzansi's help to further his dreams.

Bellstedt created a back-a-buddy campaign to help fund Shenxani's education.

"The campaign aims to cover the R39 651 shortfall of Xolisa’s grade 11 year and the cost of his matric year estimate to cost R50 970," Zane Groenewald wrote.

To donate to his fund, you can visit his campaign here.

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