The Flying Springbok

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The Flying Springbok

A History of South African Airways since its inception to the post-apartheid era

South African Airways 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 SAA 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.

What People Are Saying

“An absorbing account of a major international airline told against a background of pivotal historic, political, social and technical events. A fascinating and enlightening read.”–Charles Kohlhase, Mission Design Manager, NASA’s Voyager spacecraft interplanetary mission, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California

“This is a great story that includes world history wrapped in the aluminum skin of aviation. It contains extraordinary detail that burrows through wars, racism, determination, success, death and rebirth as South African Airways seeks new life after 2020. It is a wonderful read that should be mandatory for students of history (at) both civil and military schools”.–Brigadier General Bob Jordan, (retired), United States Army

“This is a fascinating tale that covers not only the development of air travel between Southern Africa and the rest of the world but also the too little-known evolution of the great, giant continent of Africa. The detailed aspects on aircraft and the amazingly courageous characters who flew the planes is spellbinding. This is a wonderful window on world history and is not to be missed.”–Captain Stuart Bird-Wilson, (retired), British Special Air Services

“This is a detailed and marvelous history of flying, commercial aviation and South Africa in general. It brought back many memories of my own career. The author has done an outstanding job of research and I highly recommend it to aviation aficionados, historians and general readers everywhere.”–Lieutenant Colonel Ed Reynold, (retired), United States Air Force

The Flying Springbok was featured in the Jan/Feb 2024 edition of SAWUBONA, South African Airways’ in-flight magazine, to promote the airline’s 90th anniversary

Front Cover of SAWUBONA. the in-flight magazine of South African Airways featuring The Flying Springbok.
Page about Flying Springbok in SAWUBONA. the in-flight magazine of South African Airways.