A Skydiving Odyssey

Triumph, Setback, and Resilience in Witbank (South Africa)

Kevin Meldau
3 min readOct 17, 2023

In the prime of my adventurous youth, a thrilling odyssey awaited in the heart of South Africa. Witbank, just beyond the bustling streets of Johannesburg, held the promise of an unforgettable chapter in my life’s narrative. With four intrepid companions at my side, we embarked on a journey laced with anticipation and a touch of trepidation.

Our expedition offered a novel twist on skydiving, deviating from the norm. South Africa’s skydiving tradition was one of solo leaps, cushioned by the safety of an already deployed parachute. As we arrived, a day of exhaustive instruction awaited, priming us for the monumental leap that awaited.

A Weathered Setback
Yet, nature had its own plans. The skies above Witbank were veiled in thick, impenetrable clouds, challenging our eager expectations. Faced with this meteorological quirk, we chose not to retreat but to hunker down within the airplane hangar, united in our resolve to seize the skies when the time was right.

Time, as it often does, wove its own tapestry. Within the confines of our makeshift sanctuary, laughter and camaraderie filled the air. What started as a modest toast to our shared adventure evolved into a spirited celebration, a testament to our collective courage in the face of the unknown.

A Sobering Dawn
With the first rays of dawn, reality returned with a sobering jolt. My head throbbed in rhythm with the previous night’s festivities, a stark reminder of the revelry that had transpired. The gravity of the impending leap weighed on me, casting a shadow on my resolve.

Determined to gather my wits, I stepped into the azure expanse. Yet, the usual surge of adrenaline was accompanied by a veil of uncertainty. My focus waned, and with a mixture of apprehension and resolve, I prepared for the inevitable descent.

An Unwanted Memento
The earth met me with a decisive thud, a vivid reminder that gravity, though momentarily defied, ultimately prevails. I landed with a jolt, the sound of bones yielding to the impact resonating through the crisp air. My left hand bore the brunt of the landing, succumbing to the force of the ill-fated touch down.

As I grappled with the searing pain, it became evident that this was no ordinary injury. The bones in my left hand were broken and twisted, a type of break known as a “compound break.” This demanded immediate attention. Surgery became an imperative, necessitating the insertion of pins and a meticulous reset.

A Mother’s Agony
As fate would have it, news of my mishap reached my mother through a friend’s frantic call. The chilling declaration, “Kevin had a skydiving accident,” lingered ominously before the line fell silent. In a state of sheer disbelief, she shattered all speed limits, her mind racing through a thousand dreadful scenarios, desperate to reach me. Unbeknownst to my dear mother, I was safe, enduring only a broken hand.

In the years since that pivotal day in Witbank, the memory has evolved into a poignant testament to life’s unpredictable nature. The scars on my hand tell a story of audacity and the courage to face the unknown. Reflecting on that fateful descent, I am reminded that even amidst our stumbles, we discover untapped reserves of resilience and wisdom, shaping the tapestry of experiences that define who we are.



Kevin Meldau

Cherish life's extraordinary moments, one story at a time.