A brand new SAWUBONA in-flight magazine for SAA

Sawubona b & a

If you were flying on South African Airways during April 2013, you must have noticed a big change to their in-flight magazine called SAWUBONA. And a MUCH better change, it has to be said. In this post, you will be able to see the before and afters, and the ‘afters’ are thanks to small publishing house Ndalo Media who also does DESTINY and DESTINY MAN.

I don’t know who the previous publishers were, but if I have to be honest, I cringed every single time I opened the magazine on a flight. From the 1990’s layout and fonts used, to the articles where the (what seems to be) junior writers just tried too hard to use the most high-brow words they could find. It just didn’t read easily…

SAA is the National Airline for South Africa, so if you think about it, the in-flight magazine is one of the first touch points with South Africa that the tourists have… *cringe*

The perfect example of an in-flights magazine that is doing an AMAZING job, is Australias’ Qantas Magazine. I like it so much, that I’ve actually downloaded the Qantas Magazine iPad app, so that I can read each issue, every single month, because it’s so well written, and well designed. And the interactivity of the digital version is something most of our South African publishers can learn from.

Closer to home (Africa, that is), Ethiopias’ National Airline Ethiopian Airlines also has a brilliant in-flight magazine called Selamta Magazine. If you don’t believe me, you can page through the complete March/April 2013 issue right here. Do yourself a favour, and see what us as South Africans have been missing out on with not having a good in-flight magazine on our National Carrier… (UPDATE: Kenya’s Msafiri magazine is also worth looking at)

But that seems to have all changed… but almost. The new and first issue that Ndalo Media has done is a massive improvement, but I have to be honest that it’s not UP THERE yet with the above mentioned titles. It’s a 100 times better, but I’m hoping that their use of fonts and layout will improve over the next few months. Just my honest opinion. (Remember that you can leave a quick comment below if you don’t/do agree with my points…)

You can view the whole April 2013 issue of SAWUBONA via MySubs, and for free. And if you want to compare it directly with the previous issues, you can view the February 2013 issue (by the previous publishers) right here.

But if you just want a snapshot of some of the changes, you can just view my before-and-afters, below:

Sawubona b & a2

The CONTENTS page. The one font that bothers me a bit in the NEW layout, is the font that is used to write “Contents”. It just reminds me of one of those fonts that I used on my school projects in 1995… Don’t you agree? The font is called Lucida Handwriting, and every computer has it…

These new 'upfront' pages are my favourite. I love the use of the big picture at the back, and reference to their flights to that country.

These new ‘upfront’ pages are my favourite. I love the use of the big picture at the back, and reference to their flights to that country.

Also much better "What's On" pages...

Also much better “What’s On” pages…

From what I can see, it seems like this type of "NEWS" pages is new... but these pages looks like it still needs some work...

From what I can see, it seems like this type of “SAA NEWS” pages is new, or just presented differently… but there is THAT font again :-).

An example of how the feature articles are now presented. Much better (especially when you look at all the features stories...)

An example of how the feature articles are now presented. Much better (especially when you look at all the features stories…)

More before-and-afters with some of their travel stories.

More before-and-afters with some of their travel stories. In the previous SAWUBONA, the font they used to write “Ali Barbour’s” and “Slanghoek Secrets” was the font that made it look even more 1990’s…

A nice update to their "Book Pages", and now with extra information.

A nice update to their “Book Page”, and now with extra snippets. With the old book pages, it always amazed me what types of books they featured and reviewed…I mean, “The role of the artist in society”…? Maybe a way of putting people to sleep while flying…

Sawubona b & a9

My partner and I travel a lot, and every time we saw that brown map in SAWUBONA we would joke about it and try to figure out what they’re really trying to show, and try to figure out why they need those strange ‘overlays’. So when we heard that a new publisher will be doing the magazine, the first thing we jokingly said is “we hope they change their route maps…”. Seems like they did, but only to Blue… I think I’m relatively smart (even though I can’t spell), but this map just confuses me even more because of the ‘overlays’. I mean, I can see Australia and New Zealand perfectly fine…

Just a new layout I wanted to show, with a focus on cars.

Just a new layout I wanted to show, with a focus on cars.

Sawubona b & a11

And one of their very nice new ‘openers’ that you will find in a few spots in the new SAWUBONA Magazine.

If you still want to read more of SAWUBONA, remember that you can download it via MySubs, and read it on your computer, iPad/tablet or even cellphone via the MySubs app.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a big fan of SAA because they are pathetic with customer service, and with awarding points for flights. After numerous phone calls and e-mails to all the relevant departments, I still haven’t been awarded points for almost 3 International flights (even though I included my account number when the tickets were booked). They just don’t reply or help you when you phone. I’ve basically just given up. So it might sound like I’m very bitter, but I’m sure that most people would agree that the previous SAWUBONA was just not worthy of being the in-flight magazine of our National Airline.

But congratulations to Ndalo Media for improving it by leaps and bounds, and I’m sure it will only improve even further as you guys get settles into this new role.

COMMENTS: Remember that you can leave a comment below if you complete disagree with me, or agree on certain points… I know that my view isn’t always right!

Below is the official press release from the publishers:

Ndalo Media to publish SAWUBONA magazine

As of April 2013 Ndalo Media, publisher of the popular business and lifestyle magazinesDESTINY and DESTINY MAN, will add SAWUBONA magazine to itsgrowing list of contract publishing titles. SAWUBONA is the in-flight publication for award-winning carrier South African Airways and is distributed on all local and international SAA flights.

Ndalo Media is the brainchild of CEO and shareholder Khanyi Dhlomo, who is no stranger to the media industry. As former Editor of Media24 publication True Love for eight years – which she transformed into a leading, award-winning magazine for young women throughout southern Africa, while doubling its readership – Dhlomo’s established a significant presence in the country’s burgeoning entrepreneurial sector, which she recognises as an avenue towards national economic upliftment.

Armed with an MBA from Harvard Business School, she established Ndalo Media five years ago in a joint venture with Media24. Ndalo Media is a Level 1 BEE company that is majority black-owned. Media24 is a minority shareholder in the company with 25% shareholding.  Ndalo Media’s flagship titles, DESTINY and DESTINY Man have grown incrementally as references for existing and aspirant business owners, offering a mix of local and global business, lifestyle and inspirational content, including fashion and beauty, health, travel, sport, technology and entertainment. Both publications are supplemented by online social and business networking platforms, where readers can connect, blog, receive mentoring, participate in forums, upload business and personal profiles and enjoy the interaction of a large and dynamic community.

SAWUBONA will be produced and published by Ndalo Media’s new Contract Publishing Division, whose titles have includedShimmer by Motions, South Africa’s first ethnic hair and beauty magazine produced in partnership with Unilever, andTshumelo, a business-to-business title for the Gauteng Department of Housing. It has also produced the conference material for the 2011 global COP17 environmental conference in Durban.

According to Leigh Rein, Ndalo Media’s Business Development Director: Contract Publishing and Events, the publishing house is delighted with the new addition to its stable. “Contract publishing is a significant part of our growth strategy and allows us to add value to the business by making use of the vast experience and successes we achieve with our existing titles,” says Rein.

“As an early adopter in the digital media space, Ndalo Media has innovatively grown its business across print and digital platforms, recognising very early on the need to embrace technology changes and trends, such as social media, and offer these types of platforms as options to clients too,” continues Rein. As with other titles in Ndalo Media’s portfolio SAWUBONAwill be available as a digital magazine and active in the social media space, giving SAA an opportunity toreach more people, as well as more diverse markets.

Ndalo Media runs its own digital division that consists of a dedicated in-house team that manages content and interaction. It boasts a digital presence online as well as via social media, digital publications and mobi-sites.

Ndalo Media has also embraced the need by brands and businesses to be innovative in their marketing approaches and developed an events division that uses events in engaging and dynamic ways, such as the inaugaral DESTINY Forum which took place in 2012 and various advertiser events that are designed to be both impactful and memorable for both advertisers and consumers.

Sawubona is an exciting addition to Ndalo Media and will broaden both our skills base as well as scope of interest. We look forward to working with SAA to develop SAWUBONA into a leading, compelling, quality read that promotes the best of what our country and continent have to offer, ” said Khanyi Dhlomo, founding editor of DESTINY and CEO of Ndalo Media.

14 thoughts on “A brand new SAWUBONA in-flight magazine for SAA

  1. Pingback: In-Flight magazine covers for September 2013 | MediaSlut

  2. “From the 1990′s layout and fonts used, to the articles where the (what seems to be) junior writers just tried too hard to use the most high-brow words they could find. It just didn’t read easily…”
    Really? Then tell us why the ‘new’ Sawubona – since its first edition in April – is using writers of the calibre of Chris Marais, Keri Harvey, Kayang Gagiano, Herman Gibbs, Bevan Barker, amongst othhers, who were regular contributors to the ‘old’ Sawubona? If you’re going to make comparisons; make sure you get your facts right!

    • Ps. It wasn’t the case with all articles. Select few. Maybe those select few journalists weren’t asked to stay on… Pss. The new version of Sawubona is much better, but still not as good as it can be, and not the best in-flight magazine in South Africa…. It takes more than just good writing, or writers, to make a magazine brilliant.

      • PS: You ‘innocently’ claim: “I don’t know who the previous publishers were, but if I have to be honest, I cringed every single time I opened the magazine on a flight…”
        Again, Really? You took the time and trouble to scan/download comparative pics of ‘old/’new’ cover, aricle spreads and examples – quite a few, as displayed above – yet your well-tuned, supposedly ‘investgarive’ media brain did not have the tiniest inkling of curiosity to look at the credits and see
        who the publishers were!! Very hard to believe. C’mon now, who the heck are you trying to fool!

      • It’s Uhuru Communications Publishers. Know that. Just didn’t update the blog post (partly because I didn’t want to name and shame them). Will do so tomorrow. Apologies if I offended you or anyone, but I’m sticking to my feelings about previous Sawubona. And I know that many people share the sentiment.

  3. You should have checked out Kenya Airway’s inflight magazine – Msafiri. Still the best in Africa.

  4. Would be much more impressed if the lifestyle pages weren’t blatantly copied from an overseas mag. Will find it and send to you.

  5. Well of course it’s an improvement. It was off such a low base, you could have made a better magazine using Smartart in Word.

    Looks better, but not that radical a departure from the original conceptually, from what I can see.

    • That’s what I was trying to say, but didn’t want to be too harsh. The previous version was a 0 (zero), so even a 1 is a 100% improvement :-). Funny that you mention SmartArt in Word, because the previous version looked like it WAS designed in WORD… Not to be mean or anything… but fact.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. I don’t like the cursive font at ALL in the new one, because it’s such a Microsoft Word font, such as Comic Sans and similar fonts are. You can identify them so easily and that just makes it less credible to me. This one is Lucida something.

    • I’m TOTALLY with you on the font… in the description of the “Contents image”, I also refer to the font and the name is Lucida Handwriting. Good way of putting it regarding it making the product look “less credible”…

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