The underwhelming efforts of the SA Air Force (SAAF) to mark its centenary appropriately last year – aided and abetted to a large extent by an unforeseen pandemic and national state of disaster – will partially be offset by a SAAF Association (SAAFA) project.
SAAFA marked its 75th anniversary last year and, like the SAAF, also suffered, with planned prestige events cancelled and even monthly fundraising luncheons and other events suffering the same fate.
Marthie Visser, chair of the newest SAAFA branch (Whale Coast) and former communications head honcho for the SAAF and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), felt the anniversaries, notwithstanding the rigours of COVID-19, deserve to be commemorated. She came up with the concept of using newspaper and magazine clippings about air force and Association activities and achievements in their broadest sense in a commemorative publication.
Her concept was submitted to the SAAFA national executive and approved.
She appeals to all SAAFA members as well as other former SAAF personnel and the military aviation community to dig into their personal archives and “trommels” containing all manner of memorabilia for clippings.
“All contributions, no matter how small, are welcome,” she wrote in the Whale Coast branch newsletter “The Flier”.
“Any ‘I was there” or ‘I remember so-and-so doing this or that’ or even ‘the untold story’ in relation to specific clippings will add further value to the planned publication,” is how the former one-star summed up the quest she’s embarked on.
Visser has co-opted Pretoria branch chair Bill de Pinho and former SAAFA national president Philip Weyers to assist in evaluating submitted clippings.