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Soaring Above Turbulent Skies

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

This week we had a remarkable opportunity of talking to Rodney Nkateko Ngunyula, a 24 year old private pilot born and raised in Soweto. His dream has always been to do something out of the ordinary. In 2009, when he was in grade 8 he went to the airport with his family and that is how he fell in love with aeroplanes.

After matric, Nkateko studied IT at CTI and 4 months later left to upgrade his matric results. In 2015 he enrolled at Skywalk Aviation in Lanseria. When he started training to become a pilot his dad did not fully understand this dream at first as well as his community; they all felt that this was not what black people do but Nkateko had a desire so strong that no amount of advice from well-meaning loving people would deter him, his mind was made up and nothing was going to stand in his way.

He kept pushing and studying while his whole family paid for his fees for the next four years before he got a bursary. It did not bother him much when he was not getting fatherly support, because his pastor, mother and siblings were very supportive, especially his sister. His appreciation of his sister’s push and believe in him shines through as he speaks, there is no doubt in my mind that his sister has played a pivotal role in getting him to where he is now.

Many of us are so comfortable we are playing too safe. We are too afraid of taking risks. Many are just trying to survive, to make it to tomorrow, to next week and to the end of the month and the end of the year. Taking risks is way beyond our mental capacity. We hate to be inconvenienced; we are too secure in our struggles. Our lives are misaligned, things are out of balance, we are juggling too many things and nothing seems to be working, but we refuse to think bigger about how we can really make it and succeed without merely just surviving.

Nkateko took a big risk. He wanted to be something that was way too big even for him, he hadn’t seen or heard of any pilots in Soweto, but he wanted to be that pilot who everyone looks up to. He wanted kids to look up to him and desire to be like him, now they do. He is truly a force to be reckoned with in Soweto. He had remained humble through it all, and is a constant inspiration to everyone in his community, young and old. How he encourages people who want to know his story, is, you need a lot of passion and willingness to sacrifice especially when you are the first one to do what you are doing.

In Genesis 12 God gave Abraham an instruction to leave his family and his own people and to go to a place where He would show him. He obeyed and went; he wasn’t sure where he was going but he took the risk. You will have to leave your familiar territory at one point, go even if you are not sure where you are going, dream of it even if it doesn’t yet make sense, move, and do it by faith. Taking a risk is simply doing it by faith, it is saying that I don’t know the full details yet, I don’t know how it is going to turn out yet, but I believe God is in control, that He has given me a vision, a dream, and desire and I will go and I will do this. I will do it even though He has not yet revealed the full details of the destination.

You have lived an ordinary life for far too long now. You have thought about doing something about your life but have been too intimidated and fearful. God has given you direction. He has called you out, to leave your familiar, your community, their expectations and their hopes of you. Get out and follow God’s leading even if you do not know where He is taking you. Take a risk, do it afraid of failure, do it with your palms sweaty and your heart pounding, but do it. Stop sabotaging yourself because of fear. You have been a prisoner of your past for far too long now, it is time to come out and celebrate your coming out.

You are going to be first one in your family or community to save your nation from destruction even if all you've ever achieved is win a beauty contest, Esther. You are going to bring down the walls of Jericho, walk on water, part the seas, and deliver a whole nation from slavery. You are going to build the ark drunk even if no one has done that before, watch how cisterns of the deep break out that God has hidden on earth. You will deliver a whole nation from bondage though you claim inability to speak properly, you will be the one to give of your two fish and five loaves meal and watch it grow to feed 5000 men, you are about to collect 12-full baskets of leftover as what you gave multiplies. Your CV has nothing to do with it, your qualifications have nothing to do with it, who you know or your name has nothing to do with it, where you live, what you drive is trivial. It is all about saying yes and taking the risk. Now that we've cleared that little detail, it’s time to stop wasting time . . . now launch into the deep!

Thought: For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” – Philippians 2:13