On cloud nine: 100-year-old Eastern Cape gogo's dream to fly becomes reality

100-year-old Emily Sakulwa on board her first-ever flight. (Supplied)
100-year-old Emily Sakulwa on board her first-ever flight. (Supplied)

"I could see the clouds from the top!"

This is how 100-year-old Emily Sakulwa described her first flying experience to her grandson, Zethu Msindo.

On Wednesday, airline Kulula.com made the Eastern Cape-born gogo's wish to fly a reality.

"When we told her she would be flying, she thought we were playing games with her," Msindo told News24.

"We knew she would flip at the news."

Mam' Emily – who lives in Dimbaza, 19km outside of King William's Town – was flown from East London to Johannesburg where she caught a second flight to Cape Town for a week-long visit with her children.

'So happy and excited'

According to Kulula.com, its gesture was inspired by listening to a discussion on Talk Radio 702 on the topic of celebrating former president Nelson Mandela's centenary. During the broadcast Mam' Emily, who was born in March 1918, expressed her wish to fly.

The airline then partnered with Europcar to help Mam' Emily experience the feeling of flight.

On Thursday, Mam' Emily called her grandson and told him to sit down so that she could relate her experience. "She was so happy and excited."

Mam' Emily told Msindo that this proved she was now "a responsible person".

"It has always been our mission since launching to give all South Africans the #wingstofly.

"We knew instantly when overhearing the conversation about Emily not having flown before at the age of 100 that we wanted to get involved and make the magic of flying possible for her," Kulula.com brand communications manager Luane Lavery said.

Mam' Emily will fly back to the Eastern Cape on September 19, said Msindo.

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