Felix Gosher - pic Garth Calitz

In 2016 musician, Michael Ferguson and commercial Pilot Felix Gosher joined forces to offer underprivileged children the opportunity to experience the joys of flight, a privilege that many of us take for granted. The initiative was inspired by a song by Michael, ‘Paper Plane’ about a young boy with a dream to fly. Through hard work and dedication, his dream is realised.

Story and Pics – Garth Calitz


Through sheer determination and enthusiasm Felix has initiated many successful Children’s Flight events in South Africa. When he moved to Zambia he was determined to take the concept with him and after long deliberations with the Zambian Air Force and other stakeholders, he managed to host the first Kumbululuka Kwa Bafana Kids’ Flight in 2021 and again in 2022, only even bigger and better.

Saturday 10 June arrived and it was time for Kumbululuka Kwa Bafana 2023. It was an early start as the children were scheduled to arrive at the Airforce Base at 7:00.

Once all 500 children were safely at the Airforce Base the event was opened in prayer by a ZAF Chaplain. The Chief of the Zambian Airforce, Lt-Gen Colin Barry, then joined a selection of senior officers to acknowledge the Zambian National Anthem played by the ZAF Band. Three ZAF skydivers dropped in from a Harbin Y-12 carrying a large Zambian flag.

The first group of over 100 children accompanied by a team of were then invited onto Proflight’s newly acquired Boeing 737-500 for a rather large circuit over Lusaka. This first flight was known as “Alpha Flight” and was intended to be in two parts. Unfortunately, the second part was a flight in a ZAF Mil-17 helicopter which had to be withdrawn at the last minute for operational deployment.

Once the Boeing was back on the ground the flying started in all earnest. Many sorties were flown by the ZAF Beech 1900, Xian MA60, Cessna 208 Caravan and two Harbin Y-12. They were joined by ProCharter Cessna 208 Caravan.

The proceedings came to a halt when the Zambian Airforce Golden Eagles Aerobatic team took to the air for an excellent display of formation aerobatics. The Golden Eagles flew their Karakorum K-8 lead-in jet trainers directly over the crowd while performing rolls and inverted manoeuvres. Their sequence would have caused an uproar if it was performed in South Africa.

The programme was held up when one of the K-8s burst a main gear tyre on landing and the runway was closed until the aircraft was retrieved. Jason Beamish had to shut down and wait to get confirmation that the runway was once again operational. After a lengthy wait, Jason was given clearance to commence his display, which he had to break off periodically to allow scheduled flights in and out of the airport. Despite the delays the children loved it.

After Jason landed, a three-ship formation of Hongdu L-15 Falcon fighter jets took to the sky with a series of high-speed passes. These aircraft were acquired to fill the gap left when the ZAF Mig-21 fleet was grounded.

After all the unforeseen delays, the day was quite far behind schedule and that’s when Felix unleashed the civilian squadron that he had put together. A gaggle of Cessna 210, Cessna 206s, Beechcraft Barons, a Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander, a few Slings and even a Zenith SkyJeep spent the afternoon doing circuits for all the remaining children.

Events like this would just not be possible without, firstly, people with the drive and passion of Felix Gosher and his team, and secondly the generous sponsors. Sponsors stepped up to take care of every need the children might have throughout the day. A large variety of food and drinks was made available to the children and the crew. There are too many sponsors to name individually. On a personal note, I’d like to thank ProFlight Zambia for offering the SA media massively reduced rates for the flights to and from Lusaka and of Southern Sun Ridgeway hotel for the accommodation.

To everyone involved in making the 2023 Kumbululuka Kwa Bafana the success it was, we salute you and thank you for your selfless enthusiasm. You made a difference in many children’s lives.