The boy who wanted to fly


Three years ago, in a CBN workshop given at Red Hill informal settlement, Michael Buwa wrote about his dream. His dream was to fly. Yesterday that dream came true.

This is what he said: ‘It was wonderful when I was flying, and so beautiful … I was very excited and a little bit afraid, Johan told me not to be afraid. He strapped me in and told me to sit straight and look around at the sights. It was nice! I wish you could have been there, Lesley, so you could also see.

‘It was so cool. We went to 1 600 metres on top. It was cold on top! I should have worn a jacket. It was beautiful up there! I was right there … and it was so beautiful.

‘I was excited for the landing. I thought we would just touch down and then take off again, but we landed safely. Johan was laughing at me being scared, but I was so happy as well!

‘Now I want to learn and learn and learn. I want to have more skills. Maybe I could learn to fix helicopters – and to drive them. I might be a pilot and have lots of fun. But first I have to learn and learn and learn. A chicken can’t fly with no wings. You need learning to fly.

‘I want to do something for Johan … maybe a gumboot dance? Or I could make a model of the aeroplane and paint it?

‘It was so cool to fly. I really loved it.’

The reality is that Michael, who is 20 years old now, left school with only a Grade Seven certificate (the end of primary school). The reality is that Michael has many years of school to make up before he can begin to think of training for anything. The reality is that he lives in a deeply impoverished community where advancement of any kind is difficult.

But today’s reality was pure happiness.


The workshop that Michael attended was sponsored and encouraged by a group of dedicated librarians, and one drama teacher from Skelleftea, Rose-Marie Lindfors, Gunilla Brinck, Maria Nordenback, Anna Hallgren and Synneva Byrkjeland.
The workshops were sponsored by SIDA – the Swedish aid agency and Swedish Arts and Culture. They remembered his dream and when a plan to fly a 1935 De Havilland 60 Moth biplane to South Africa came up, they asked if we could find Michael.

For more information on that long-ago workshop please see:

For more information on the incredible flight from Sweden to South Africa please go to:

If anybody is interested in helping Michael with his next dream, please contact CNB on:

Photographs of Michael with his parents and at home. Photograph in green cap taken at the 2012 workshop. (All CBN)
Main photograph of Michael with Johan taken by Marleen La Grange.

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