Cabin Crew Member Jabulani Masilela has been part of the SAA family since 2011. He shares what he’s experienced and learnt.
The first time I saw someone wearing an SAA cabin-crew uniform was when I was still at school. The next time I saw the uniform was on board an SAA aircraft on the way to Australia as a performing artist in the South African musical production <Umoja: The Spirit of Togetherness>. I remembered the lady I’d seen during my school days – and this time there were a dozen of them on board!
Being a cabin attendant became my second career path. I travelled a lot during my performing years, and I realised that working in the air was something I would like to do.
What I love most about this job
The training I’ve received has given me great life skills. We are trained to handle the various emergency and medical situations we could encounter on board, from helping pregnant women give birth to performing CPR.
My most memorable moment is…
Having my late mother on board a flight to Beijing. She had so many questions about my job and about flying. Meeting the crew and going into the cockpit was an amazing experience for her. She kept looking out of the window in disbelief that we were airborne. I could tell by looking at her that she was thrilled to have this opportunity. That moment spoke to me in many ways.
I love to travel because…
It forces you to let go of the familiar comforts of home and friends. It’s also an opportunity to make new friends all over the world and experience new cultures. I love to explore, so I appreciate all of SAA’s regional and international destinations. Every country or city, no matter how big or small, has something beautiful to offer.
When I’m not flying, I’m…
A performing artist who can sing, dance and act. I perform on special occasions or by invitation; I also do voice-overs for adverts. I’ve become the voice of SAA’s pre-recorded on-board announcements. Hearing myself on all our aircraft during takeoff and landing has been incredible.
I also hold a leadership position at the Ekuphumleni Congregation Church in Zion. We work with the youth, child-welfare centres and old-age homes, raising money for daily essentials. Every Youth Day (16 June), we hold events to clean, cook and put on performances for the kids and the elderly at these NPOs.
FAVOURITE INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION: Hong Kong
I love its rich culture and lifestyle, and I enjoy the creative architecture and sparkling nights filled with dazzling neon lights of skyscrapers. For 360-degree views of the city, you can catch a high-speed double-decker elevator up to the Sky100 observation deck atop Hong Kong’s tallest building – or take a tram to Victoria Peak to view the skyline from a distance. It’s a symphony of lights!
JABU’S TOP TRAVEL TIPS
- Do thorough research about the country you’re visiting.
- Make sure your family has all the details of your journey before you leave.
- Try to learn a few common phrases in the local language.
- Check the weather and pack accordingly – but always pack something warm.
- Pack some clothes in your cabin luggage in case something goes wrong with your checked-in bag.
- Make photocopies of important documents and keep these in separate bag.
- Don’t leave home without a travel-sized first-aid/medical kit.
- Keep an open mind, and remember: patience is key when travelling.