Ga-Rankuwa-born Semakaleng Mathebula needed to strike a high quality steadiness between a demanding job within the automotive sector and her ardour, to grow to be the nation’s first black feminine scorching air balloon pilot.
The University of the Witwatersrand graduate obtained her coaching from the Balloon and Airship Federation of South Africa (Bafsa).
“My first encounter with ballooning was as a marketing assistant for a balloon tour operator in Magaliesburg. After witnessing the balloons in person at the South African Hot Air Balloon Championships, I fell in love with the sport and used my time there to learn all levels of the business,” she mentioned.
“Time has been the biggest sacrifice thus far. Having to balance the ballooning and a full-time corporate job takes away lots of time from friends and family. I am very blessed to have a support structure that is understanding and always willing to be part of my journey.”
One of the challenges is that the business is very depending on climate circumstances.
“Balloon flying is very climate dependent and infrequently, even after climate checks and all indications that the morning can be appropriate for flight, the fact on arrival on the launch web site states one thing completely different and ends in a flight cancellation.
“When mother nature does favour us, we have an amazing time floating on the clouds,” she mentioned.
Hot air balloon pilots will let you know that flying them is one thing that will get underneath your pores and skin, a ardour that ignites your soul – nearly just like the burners that preserve their balloons aloft.
But pursuing that keenness will also be a strategy to make a dwelling. Balloon pilots with enterprise savvy usually flip what begins as a pastime right into a aspect job that not solely pays for the journey and bills related to ballooning, however also can construct faculty funds for his or her children, or act as a second revenue for his or her households.
And for many who hustle and have the great fortune of touchdown a company promoting contract (or two), it will probably grow to be a full-time profession.
But Mathebula is not going to be giving up her every day job as a buyer decision analyst simply but.
“In future I hope to open business operations which will highlight and support hot air ballooning tour operators. That, accompanied by a position on the Bafsa committee and additional funding will help me unlock further opportunities for more people to engage with aviation and the industry at large.”
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