Travel: South African TV star may have dragged Nigeria and Angola into Twitter war over SAA

Twitter war

The raging Twitter feud over food served on board SAA started by a South African Socialite Bonang Matheba has spread beyond South Africa.

One of the responses on Twitter by a TV personality Lerato who came out in defence of SAA made a dig at Countries that live on Oil.

The reference Could have been Nigeria and Angola two African countries whose Economies have taken a beating because of their dependence on Oil or Emirate Airlines and Qatar from Oil rich Gulf Countries of UAE and Qatar. No one knows for sure which countries she meant.

Many suspect it is UAE and Emirates that is currently ramping up flights in South Africa, Increasing frequencies on all routes.

Ironically the two African Countries are huge markets for South African Airways. South African Tourism have trade offices in both Countries.

This defence by Lerato is similar to that by CNN star Christine Amanpour when the American Superbowl game was hit by Blackout some years ago.

Christine quickly put a spin on the story by Dragging Nigeria’s perennial blackouts into the story changing the topic of discussion altogether even doing a vox pop on how Nigerians feel about blackout. A brilliant twist that was but Lerato didn’t succeed in Changing the topic this time.

Most responses were in support of the Airline and they admired the very brilliant response by the SAA. This is happening at the height of the bad publicity faced by American Airlines. The banning of Girls travelling with tights on a flight and the dragging out of a paying Passenger has caused immense publicity worries for American Airlines.

According to a story by, reproduced below  the trouble started when Bonang took to Twitter to share her disappointment with the food being served on the airline.
Bonang twitted: @flysaa we don’t like the couscous. Also that meal with the stew. Please hey. Also the funny cheese platter what what. Please.

The airline cheekily responded to her complaint saying that no one else had complained about the food.

@bonang_m @flysaa Hi, please note that other passengers enjoyed the meals.
Bonang was not amused and hit back at the airline, calling it trash.

She twitted again: @flysaa_care @flysaa Better response would’ve been-“Sorry. How can we improve our customer service”. Trash airline.

Her comments went viral and split Twitter as users rushed to defend Bonang, while some defended SAA.

They made their feelings known through hilarious jokes and memes.
In defence for SAA, Masakhane Chilundu twitted: Whoever tweets for @flysaa_care … I love you. #Bonang

@Ziniko14 twitted also in defence of SAA: Bonang Matheba again acting like everything in South Africa belongs to her.

For Nomfundo Roberto: Mara Bonang is also a customer so she must not complain when she’s not satisfied with the service she’s getting? Haibo.

@IM_KING_Dee  said: Bonang has the right to complain. But the response is SAVAGE!

@RealTshemedi : Bonang has every right to complain as a client… she paid for that damn thing… SAA come on now.

Meanwhile, fellow TV personality Lerato Kganyago defended the airline saying that it was trying its best.

Mthunzi The Maestro @Mthumero :Which airline were you working for? Another airline has just been called ‘trash’.

leratokganyago  @leratokganyago : @Mthumero lol, remember SAA is struggling, they’ve lost over 10.5 billion over the past years, they honestly trying their level best. Even though they may seem dodgy, they still the best Airline in Africa, we obviously can’t compare them to countries that LIVE on oil…lol

The airline, in a month that has seen viral customer care gaffes from others in the industry, responded to a tweet from the 29-year-old socialite. And it included a fair amount of cheek.
Bonang, commenting on the quality of the food offered on SAA flights (while also responding to a tweet from SA DJ Ph Madubela), received this gem of a reply from the airline’s customer care account.

The socialite didn’t take kindly to those 70 characters.

But feelings towards the airline’s arguably edgy reply and the star’s initial tweet were mixed.
Some feel that the socialite should just “be cool”.

“Hands off Bonang” was another rhetoric covering a number of tweets, made complete with Bathabile Dlamini memes.

Others lauded SAA’s reply, largely for its comedic value.

Finally, some pointed the finger at the SAA reply itself, suggesting that the airline should have “handled her complaint better as a paying customer.”

Did SAA do anything wrong?
With the likes of United Airlines in the US highlighting the questionable response that some airlines, and indeed companies, have towards customers or potential patrons, this probably wasn’t the best way to handle criticism.

At the same time though, it does give South Africa something other than politics to talk about on Twitter for a bit.

“Bonang” remains among South Africa’s most spoken about topics on the social network at the time of writing, just behind SA finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s press conference (#treasury) which took place Wednesday morning.

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