Packed Assembly awaits SONA

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iol news pic National Assembly Sona screengrab

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Screengrab of the packed National Assembly ahead of President Zuma's State of the Nation address..

Parliament - MPs and invited guests packed the National Assembly chamber on Tuesday ahead of President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address.

Among the invited guests were 100-year-old ouma Anna Beukes, representing the Witbooi Namastam (Nama clan).

“I look forward to seeing what's happening inside here and hopefully I can learn something,” Beukes, dressed in a black skirt and floral blazer, said as she slowly made her way into the chamber with the help of a walking stick.

MPs were dressed to the nines, many with locally designed and made attire.

While some, like Mvezo chief and ANC MP Mandla Mandela, opted for traditional attire, others wore more modern designs.

Mandela arrived at Parliament barefoot, wearing traditional garb.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille chose a vintage black and gold blouse with a black skirt and gold court shoes.

“I was in Hermanus yesterday and fell in love with this vintage top,” Zille said.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema opted for the red overall and hardhat - which has become a type of EFF uniform - symbolising the working class roots of the party.

As Malema made his way past the media, he refused to stop and pose, but a suit could be spotted underneath his overalls.

Also spotted outside was a praise singer who flung his stick and beads about as a warm-up ahead of the big speech.

Eric Sifiso Lubisi, who will lead Zuma into the National Assembly, arrived on the red carpet with a skirt and a brown tweed jacket over his naked torso.

A traditional blanket was tucked under his arm and he sipped on a takeaway cup of tea.

Basking in the attention of journalists, he took off his jacket and leapt about on the red carpet, throwing a few high kicks and hits with his wooden stick.

The primary school teacher's moves were sure to impress his Grade Seven pupils back home in Mpumalanga.

Also rocking the red carpet were two pairs of blue suede shoes.

One pair belonged to Statistician General Pali Lehohla, who wore an otherwise tame khaki tweed suit and matching beret.

The other pair belonged to ANC MP Sbusiso Radebe, who kept them partially hidden under an Arabic-style white robe.

Going for style over comfort, Deputy Communications Minister Stella Ndabendi strutted along the carpet in sky-high blue and gold heels to match her tight-fitting printed dress.

She almost blinded the media with her golden belt and clutch bag.

She guided her husband Thato, who wore a suit and large black and gold sunglasses.

“This is my cute husband. He's taken, guys,” she said with a laugh before dragging him off.

Most MPs seemed to be feeling the nippy Cape weather and dressed up in fur and feathers.

Others kept their heads warm in helmets and turbans.

ANC MP George Mthimunye wore a Ndebele animal fur breastplate over his suit. His wife was ensconced in a blue, red, yellow, and black Ndebele blanket.

“This is my culture. I've grown up with it and wore it because this is an important occasion,” he said.

MPs and guests were seated by 6pm, an hour before Zuma commences his seventh State of the Nation address.

Sapa


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