A South African who won the opportunity to be the first black African in space has died in a motorbike accident before turning his dream into reality.

A family statement said Mandla Maseko, 30, was killed on Saturday.

In 2013, the South African Air Force member beat one million entrants to win one of 23 places at a space academy in the US.

Nicknamed Afronaut and Space-boy, Maseko described himself as a typical town boy from Pretoria.

Many of those paying tribute to Maseko on social media remembered his nicknames fondly.

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