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The Flying Springbok: A History of South African Airways Since Its Inception to the Post-Apartheid Era

The Flying Springbok: A History of South African Airways Since Its Inception to the Post-Apartheid Era

by Lionel Friedberg


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An artistic rendering of the African antelope the Springbok was depicted with stylized wings to serve as the logs of South African Airways (SAA) for well over 60 years. It was replaced by a new corporate identity when the airline was rebranded after the demise of apartheid, the release of Nelson Mandela from political incarceration and the introduction of a non-racist democratic society in South Africa in the mid-nineties. As a state-owned entity many people once saw SAA as the 'apartheid airline'. For a time, travel on board its aircraft was restricted to whites only but this was later changed to include members of all the country's diverse racial groups. SAA pioneered flight throughout Africa during the colonial era, long before airports, supply services, radio and weather forecasting capabilities even existed. Its staff and equipment served with the Allies in Europe and North Africa during WWII and it met the enormous challenge of having to circumvent African airspace when flying to destinations abroad after most African nations closed their skies to it in protest against the country's racist policies in the early sixties. Over the years the airline grew into one of the world's major domestic, regional and international carriers. Its long history was eventually terminated and replaced by a new entity in 2020 with the the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. In its original incarnation it could proudly boast of being one of the world's oldest and longest-surviving international carriers. It is still seen by many around the world as the airline with that much revered and fondly remembered emblem, the Flying Springbok.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781789046465
Publisher: Chronos Books
Publication date: 08/01/2021
Pages: 536
Product dimensions: 5.64(w) x 8.48(h) x 1.15(d)

About the Author

Lionel Friedberg is an Emmy Award-winning Film and TV producer, and writer. He grew up in South Africa and began his career at the first TV station in Central Africa in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, in 1961. He worked as a Director of Photography on 18 feature films and wrote, produced, and directed for National Geographic, PBS and national broadcast and cable networks. He is also a New York Times bestselling author. He is based in Los Angeles, California.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Taking Wing 3

Chapter 2 A Man Called Mac 41

Chapter 3 The Blue and Silver Way 90

Chapter 4 Embattled Skies 144

Chapter 5 The Springbok Service 168

Chapter 6 Changing Times 210

Chapter 7 A Sound Like Thunder 243

Chapter 8 Last of the Propliners 257

Chapter 9 Return of the Jets 283

Chapter 10 The Great Detour 316

Chapter 11 Triumph and Tragedy 333

Chapter 12 Jumbos and Pirates 368

Chapter 13 Beating the Odds 395

Chapter 14 Contraction and Expansion 422

Chapter 15 A Golden Year 446

Chapter 16 A New Era 482

Chapter 17 A New Identity 499

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