Gift Bvuma (26) was born and bred in the dusty streets of Xihoko Village outside Tzaneen. She was raised with her five siblings by unemployed parents in the countryside of Limpopo province, South Africa.
Gift used to go around the Villages together with the family selling Fruits and Vegetables at Grants Paying Points for survival. Today, she is a third-year student doing Aircraft Mechanic Training with 43 Air School in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape. Besides doing Aircraft Mechanic, she also studied Electrical Engineering N1 – N6 with Central Johannesburg College.
In January 2017, Gift Bvuma was fortunate enough to get a placement at UJ where she was on a Learnership. In 2018 after her Learnership, she applied for Apprenticeship. She received a response on her application and was invited for Interviews in Lanseria Airport but thought it was a scam because her mom always warned her about job scams in the City of Gold, Johannesburg.
The energetic Gift had no money at all, she started fasting while preparing for the Interviews. When the day arrived, she went to Lanseria Airport and met fellow homeboy Brilliant Nkuna who was also attending the same Interview. After the Interview and Assessment, they were both competent. She received forms from TETA (Transport Education Training Authority) which is responsible for sponsorship, she completed, submitted and the rest is history.
The most difficult obstacle of completing Aircraft Mechanics Course is financial, which in South Africa means that only few people in the black community can afford. But, with sponsors like TETA, it is still possible for the black child to make it through the system. During this 30 Months course, you are also required to do an 11 months theory and 18 months on the job training.
Like any other kid from the countryside, to be based far away from her-home town, she felt homesick and was thinking of quitting. She had a challenge of distance because she travelled all the way from Tzaneen in Limpopo to Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape. In a place where you are an outsider, things become very expensive for you and by judging from the background she is coming from, it was already too much for her. Gift is a young black woman who is knocking hard in an industry which is male dominated. When she arrived in Port Alfred, they were a group of 20, but 3 left because of pressure.
Like any other job which requires certain levels to achieve before being hire, this is what potential students should look at while still in Secondary and High school.
“Requirements for AirCraft Mechanics include Grade 12 with English Level 4, Mathematics and Physical Science. The person must be 18 or above and be physically fit. I would also recommend doing research about this Career, check with various flight schools to find the one that suits you before making any decisions. This is a fantastic career; i love my job and would recommend it to anyone.
“You need to believe in yourself black child. I was raised by parents who were selling Fruits and Vegetables in order to provide for us at home. If my parents did it for us, I’m quite sure other parents who are blessed with good jobs can do better. Having a clear vision of where you want to be in life will help us to overcome the struggles in the disadvantaged communities like mine (Xihoko Village).
“I didn’t look at what my mom was selling and say I’ll end up there also. It was tough, but with the passion I have for anything I put my mind to, I’m definatelymaking it happen. I assure you that I am not the brightest girl in my community, but through dedication and discipline, I’m swimming with the best. Being born from the dusty streets of Xihoko won’t stop me from pursuing further a challenging career that will help me grow in all arears of my life.
“The training is extremely enjoyable although it’s also demanding, but since I’m being trained for great responsibility so you would expect it to be tough. If you are passionate about flying and seriously considering it as a career, take the plunge and go for it. Make sure you do a lot of research beforehand to ensure it really is for you as it is a massive commitment that you make to your country.” She concludes
Gift Bvuma quotes Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) as a Scripture she lives by: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and no evil, to give a future and a hope.”
Gift Bvuma would like to venture into farming and start growing the vegetables which fed her to be where she is today. A bright star hailing from the countryside, shining all the way from Xihoko to Port Alfred, wherever you are now Gift, know that your story inspires every kid here in Tzaneen, you are our pride, we salute you.