President-Elect Cyril Ramaphosa assesses the state of readiness for the Presidential Inauguration to be held on Saturday at the Loftus Versfeld stadium in Tshwane. Picture: GCIS
Tshwane is alive with anticipation ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inauguration on Saturday morning - fighter jets are making their last practice runs overhead - piercing the skies with their thunder. 

Ordinary people are making plans to head to Loftus stadium as early as 3 am to line up for a seat at the historic inauguration of the man who played a pivotal role in the negotiations towards a peaceful transition to democracy in this country, and who contributed to the drafting of our highly praised constitution. This inauguration 32,000 South Africans will be able to join in the celebration as opposed to being relegated to the lower grounds of the Union Buildings.

The revolutionary flavour of the day will be felt by the presence of VIPs from across the African continent, the BRICS countries, as well as fraternal countries. With 34 VIPS on the list of expected guests, all Heads of State will come from Africa, in addition to the Chairs of the Regional Economic Communities on the continent. 

Moving further afield, those countries with which South Africa has expressed the greatest solidarity will also be represented at the highest echelons. For those that may have doubted President Ramaphosa’s commitment to revolutionary and social justice causes should think again if the invitation list to his inauguration is anything to go by.

The President of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic Brahim Ghali, who is the leader of the Polisario Front in the last colony on the African continent, will be accorded pride of place, as will Cuba’s First Vice President Salvador Valdes Mesa. Venezuela’s Minister Aristobulo Isturiz responsible for Communes and Social Protection will be attending, underlining the appreciation of Venezuela for South African solidarity in defending Venezuelan sovereignty.

The Palestinians are being represented by Minister Ahmed Majdalani, who is the Minister for Social Development and is also on the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. South Africa made strategic choices in its invitations to the inauguration, ensuring that those countries fighting against colonial domination and exploitation would be prioritised on the guest list. 

The fact that invitations were not extended to VIPS from other Western, Asian and Middle Eastern countries (except for the BRICS countries)  sends a strong message that South Africa under Ramaphosa will stand by its political allies and friends, and have their backs in the face of neo-colonial aggression.