World’s first black African as

World’s first black African astronaut to go into space

The first black African to power into space is gearing up to go from part-time DJ in a South African township to the second Afronaut – and all because of a body spray…

World’s first black African as

Years ago, it might have starred Eddie Murphy or Martin Lawrence and been a comedy. Now, in the fifth year of the world’s most powerful man being a black man with a Kenyan father, that kind of film just doesn’t seem amusing any more. But the world’s first black African astronaut, Mandla Maseko, is preparing for lift-off to 100km above the earth as we speak.

Right now, Maseko is still living in a township, but the 25-year old, who is a part-time DJ, was one of 23 winners of the Lynx Apollo Space Academy Competition, sponsored by the deodorant brand’s parent company, Unilever, and the Space Exploration Company. Maseko, who beat off nearly 1 million other entrants, will experience moments of weightlessness as the spaceplane – intended to be the first of many – escapes the Earth’s atmosphere for a few moments.

Maseko is the first black African to leave the stratosphere. The first Afronaut of any kind, as we know, was Mark Shuttleworth, but people of African descent have looked down on the blue planet before: the USA began sending African-American astronauts into space in the early 1980s, with Guion Bluford (born 1942), the very first, in 1983.

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