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South African Airways staff light up opera stage for Soweto performance on Mandela’s birthday

 
JOHANNESBURG, 15 July 2014
. South African Airways (SAA) crew members, Monggie Tlhapane,  Frieda Makoba and Muzikayise Hlatshwayo, will feature in the upcoming performance of a new opera, This New Ocean, at the Soweto Theatre on 18-20 July.
 
Opening night is timed to coincide with the birthday of the late President, Nelson Mandela. July 18 and 19 shows begin at 20h00 while on July 20 the curtain will rise already at 15h00.
 
This New Ocean has been created by renowned Spanish composer Nélida Béjar and German stage director Björn Potulski, who have already arrived in Soweto for rehearsals with the cast and an orchestra of 15 professional musicians. Produced by Munich airport, the opera covers the beginning of life in Africa, the migration of humans around the world and a vision of a Utopian future. The name refers to the “ocean” of sky through which today’s “flying ships” connect countries, businesses and, most of all, people. It premiered at a sold-out performance at the famous Cuvilliés Theatre in Munich on 30 May.
 
The opera was conceived as a way to showcase the talents of staff from Munich Airport, SAA, Lufthansa and All Nippon Airlines (all members of the Star Alliance). Putting the show together took more than 10 months and involved a number of logistical challenges—for example, coordinating the busy schedules of the performers, many of whom, like the SAA employees, are crew members with jobs that take them all over the world. Rehearsals took place in Munich and after every session the unique company of singers and actors was again quite literally scattered to the four corners of the earth.
The three performers of South African Airways confess that the project involved a lot of sacrifices, especially when it came to giving-up other routes in order to facilitate rehearsals. “Eventually we found a balance and fell in love with the project so much that we’re going to be sad when it’s over,” says Monggie Tlhapane.
 
“The one advantage of being a crew member is that it presents an opportunity to travel and gain first-hand experience of what the outside world has to offer and has enabled our staff to enhance their own lives and develop their innate talents—an ideal this initiative truly fulfills,” says SAA’s Spokesperson, Mr Tlali Tlali. “This is one example of how travel opens up new doors for people, and we congratulate Monggie, Frieda and Muzikayise for putting this unique opportunity to such good use.”
 
The opening night in Soweto will be attended by the Ambassador of Germany, Dr. Horst Freitag, former German politician Mr Markus Meckel, top management from SAA as well as Dr Michael Kerkloh, the CEO of Munich Airport.
 
Admission for the Soweto performances is free, but subject to seat availability – thus booking is recommended. Donations to the Soweto Theatre Music Education Programme are also welcome. Tickets are available from www.sowetotheatre.org.za and reservations can also be made by phone on 0861 670 670 or (011) 930-7461.
 
ENDS
 
About South African Airways

 
South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, operates to 40 destinations worldwide.
In its domestic market SAA has an extensive schedule operating 554 flights in total per week between Johannesburg – Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, from its Johannesburg hub, as well as code-shared flights between Lanseria – Cape Town and Durban. SAA offers more frequencies than any other airline in South Africa.
 
Regionally, SAA offers 24 destinations across the African continent including Abidjan, Accra, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Entebbe, Harare, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Lilongwe, Livingstone, Luanda, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius, Nairobi, Ndola, Pointe Noire, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.
SAA’s international network creates links to all major continents from South Africa through 10 direct routes and code shares, with daily flights from Johannesburg to London (Heathrow), Frankfurt, Munich, Mumbai, Perth, Hong Kong, Beijing, New York, Washington, and Sao Paulo. SAA has codes share agreements with 29 other airlines across the markets it serves. The airline has extended its code share agreement with Mango, its low cost operator, to also include coastal cities in South Africa (between Johannesburg and Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and George), as well as Johannesburg – Bloemfontein; Cape Town - Bloemfontein and Cape Town  - Port Elizabeth.
 
SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC).
SAA is a Star Alliance member which offers more than 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries. SAA is the winner of the 'Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for eleven consecutive years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on-time airlines.
 
For more information contact:
 
SAA
Tlali Tlali  (Mr)                                                                          
SAA spokesperson                                                                                                          
Mob:     +27 82 333 3880                                                     
Email:    TlaliTlali@flysaa.com  
 
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