Yesterday, Sunday 2 December, South African Airways, as the national flag carrier and iconic South African brand, joined the world to honour Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratic President and Nobel Laureate, with a special fly-over at the Global Citizen Concert.
The fly-over was reminiscent of another special and historic “Madiba moment” when SAA performed a similar fly- Over more than two decades ago at the 1995 Rugby World Cup finals. The world watched as former President Mandela captivated the crowd and the world when Madiba walked onto the pitch wearing a Springbok cap and replica of the captain’s number 6 jersey, which was later immortalised in the inspiring movie Invictus.
SAA again captured the crowd when the biggest aircraft type in our fleet, the Airbus A340-600, with the wording “Global Citizen” on its belly, seamlessly executed the fly-over at approximately 13h35 over FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
In the cockpit were Captain Andre Steenkamp, and First Officer Bradley Bennetts, with Captain Pierre Gouws overseeing safety. The crowds cheered when the SAA aircraft glided across the sky over the excitement-filled stadium, shortly before the official programme for the day got underway.
“At the time when the world faces major challenges of inequality, poverty, and intolerance; “the Global Citizen initiative, was a fitting tribute to Nelson Mandela’s contribution to global humanity. SAA is proud to have played a part, however small,” said Vuyani Jarana, SAA CEO.
The generous contribution of sponsors made the fly-over possible and SAA would like to express gratitude to Engen and Shell SA for sponsoring the jet fuel, Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) who have wavered take-off and landing fees, as well as SAA flight-deck crew and technicians, who volunteered their time.
The flyover is the highlight of SAA’s activities to mark the Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations. SAA introduced a campaign in Madiba’s honour in celebration and recognition of his influence towards the course of humanity in general and for his selfless contribution towards the transformation of South Africa, its freedom, and democracy South Africans enjoy today.
About Global Citizen Festival
The Global Citizen Festival is part of a movement to end extreme poverty. By contributing to charity acts on their website, including watching videos and signing petitions, fans could get free tickets to the festival. In addition, the organisers strive to make the event "global" by live-streaming the event in public locations. Since 2015, the goals of the festival have been closely aligned with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include 17 tasks to end extreme global poverty by 2030.