The SA Air Force (SAAF) late last year staged an aviation awareness summer camp in Kwazulu-Natal attended by 720 young people – the largest number yet to be exposed to various facets of air power and the ground support needed to make it happen.
The unofficial SAAF Website reports the awareness camp at Ulundi was presented in collaboration with the provincial department of education with the aim of exposing youth to “a new world of endless possibilities, a world of aviation and discipline.”
Officiated by SAAF Chief, Lieutenant-General Fabian Msimang, a passing out parade was culmination of a two week programme which exposed 720 learners (406 girls and 318 boys) to maths and science, showing how these subjects relate to their day to day lives. Learners were given lessons in discipline, aviation awareness and exposure to flying simulators. Others had the opportunity to fly in SAAF helicopters.
Msimang noted many at the camp were not aware of the existence of pilots, technicians or engineers from their communities.
“We are here to extend hope and access on how to get there. I am reliably told motivation levels and love for aviation has increased.”
Other civic education activities included lessons in patriotism and being an outstanding citizen. There were also dedicated awareness lessons on sexual exploitation and abuse and a career exhibition.
Feedback from various provincial education departments indicates learners who have gone through the SAAF aviation awareness camp tend to be more confident, have a positive influence on their peers and show overall improvement in their studies the website reports.
Addressing learners, Msimang told them that they had “received a toolkit to serve as responsible members of the community” and must be exemplary in respect to discipline, honour and integrity. “Henceforth, you have a moral obligation to provide quality leadership to your peers,” he told the parade.
The Ulundi summer camp was hosted by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, the SAAF and the Department of Education and partners including Armscor, Saab and the Civil Aviation Authority of South Africa (CAASA).