Site links

News Archive




Article by Amn Nwabisa V. Dlevu. AD ASTRA magazine

In the dusty area of Dennilton, Mpumalanga, a young man was born. Makwe Zachariah Ditshego (27) is the epitome of perseverance. His hunger for a prosperous future has not only led him to where he is today, but has shaped his character too.

Through trying times he managed to push boundaries and get where he wished to be. He is the second child of George and Linah Ditshego and has four siblings. He matriculated in Mpumalanga and later pursued further studies at the Pretoria West College, where he studied Mechanical Engineering, and achieved an N6 (National Technical Certificate).

CO Zachariah Ditshego with CO Ephraim Seteng in Potchefstroom

“In 2006, I decided to join the South African Air Force (SAAF) as a Reserve Force member,” said Candidate Officer (CO) Ditshego. On completion of Basic Military Training he was deployed to Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing (AF MDW) at the Radar Mechanical Section as a Technical Assistant.

“My dream is to become a Technician, but owing to financial constraints this dream has not yet come true,” said Ditshego. He longs for an opportunity to do practical training at 68 Air School one day. His passion for sports, particularly soccer, has opened more doors than he could imagine.

CO Zachariah Ditshego received an The Best Overall Trophy in SA team

One day, while playing soccer in 2007, a letter arrived inviting members who would like to take part in the Sport Military Pentathlon, which consists of five challenges: obstacle course, swimming, orienteering, first aid, LOAC, rifle shooting and 9 mm shooting in Bloemfontein to represent the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). He decided to enter.

The following year, 2008, an invitation came through for the second round of selections. Out of eight participants from the SAAF, Ditshego was the only one who made it. He then went for training in Potchefstroom over a period of two months. Later they were invited to the Netherlands for training sessions that would fully prepare them for the Internationals that took place in Turkey.

Lt Hanse van Domeneen from The Netherlands together with
CO Zachariah Ditshego received the Best Overall Trophies

After seven days spent in the Netherlands, he received an achievement certificate, together with fellow player and coach - Col Wim Albert. On their departure to Turkey, CO Ditshego noted that the Turkish rifle was different to ours; it was lighter, but the technique was the same. About 36 countries participated in the Internationals in Turkey. He received another certificate in Turkey. The SANDF achieved 20th place.

Presently CO Ditshego is looking forward to the results of the 2009 selections, which took place last month. 86 members participated and he was the best overall. This year the internationals will take place in Bulgaria during the first week of August.

His support system is his proud family in Mpumalanga, Major General Anderson, Chief Director of Defence Reserve Force, and his coach, who motivated him and his Section Head. WO1 Mike Amos also showed great support. CO Ditshego is a proud father of twin girls, Onkutlwile and Onthatile. He sees himself as a qualified technician in the future.



Print Version    Top