Water Minister Pemmy Majodina's conscientious tongue-twister moment has Parliament in stitches

Water Minister Pemmy Majodina. File Picture: Parliament

Water Minister Pemmy Majodina. File Picture: Parliament

Published Jul 3, 2024


In an unexpected but heartwarming moment during the swearing-in ceremony, Water and Sanitation Minister Pemmy Majodina had fellow Cabinet members in stitches when she struggled to pronounce the word "conscientiously" as she read her oath of office.

The bubbly Majodina, who is the former chief whip of the ANC in Parliament, inadvertently became the star of the swearing-in ceremony and created a viral moment, leaving her boss, President Cyril Ramaphosa, in stitches.

The assembly was left in fits of laughter as Majodina struggled to pronounce the word "conscientiously," turning a routine speech into a comedic highlight.

Her genuine attempts and infectious laughter not only humanized the political process but also showcased the importance of humour and camaraderie in high-pressure environments, especially in a Government of National Unity Cabinet consisting of members from at least five political parties.

The GNU Cabinet consists of ministers from the ANC, DA, IFP, PA, FF+, PAC and Good, while there also deputy ministers from Al-Jama-ah and the UDM.

In a refreshing departure from the often solemn and serious atmosphere of parliamentary sessions, Majodina had to be coached by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to pronounce the word.

As Majodina attempted to pronounce the word, it became clear that "conscientiously" was determined to be a verbal nemesis. Her initial attempt was met with an audible pause, a brief moment of hesitation that signalled the struggle ahead.

"Con-shee-ence-tiously... con-senshe-ous-ly..." Majodina's valiant efforts to conquer the word were met with chuckles that quickly escalated into full-blown laughter.

The more she tried, the more the laughter spread, until even Majodina herself couldn't help but join in. With a good-natured smile and a hearty laugh, she acknowledged the humour of the situation, earning applause for her perseverance and sense of humour.

The incident was a perfect reminder that, despite the high stakes and serious nature of their work, politicians are human too.

They are subject to the same linguistic slip-ups and tongue-twisters that challenge us all. In that moment, Majodina's struggle with "conscientiously" bridged the gap between the public and their representatives, making her more relatable and endearing.

Social media quickly caught wind of the event, and the clip of Majodina's tongue-tied moment went viral.

— NsiSong (@nsikool) July 3, 2024

Majodina's candid reaction to her mispronunciation served as a reminder that it's okay to stumble, and that authenticity and a good sense of humour can go a long way.

The incident also provided a rare, candid moment of unity within the parliament. Amidst the laughter, there was a sense of camaraderie as members from different parties joined in the good-natured fun. It was a brief, yet poignant reminder that beneath the political debates and differing ideologies, there is a shared human experience.

As the laughter died down and the session continued, Majodina regained her composure and continued with her speech, this time with even more support and attention from her colleagues.

In the end, Minister Majodina's struggle with "conscientiously" was more than just a humorous slip-up.

It was a moment of vulnerability that brought laughter and lightness to a serious suit and tie occassion, reminding us all that even our leaders can have their tongue-tied moments—and that a little laughter can go a long way in bridging divides and building connections.