On Thursday, February 8, President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his State of The Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament .
Sona is one of the biggest events on the parliamentary calendar, where politicians get to walk the red carpet before the joint sitting of the houses of Parliament.
Unlike in previous years when most guests wore evening gowns, this time was different. Most of the ladies were dressed in African traditional attire such as the Umbhaco (Xhosa traditional attire), Emahiya (Swati traditional attire) and African prints.
While some South Africans may think the Sona red carpet is a waste of time, it isn't.
Proudly SA explains that it’s important for the local fashion industry because dignitaries get a chance to wear clothes made by famous or emerging local designers.
“Proudly SA’s goal of driving the ‘buy local’ mandate is critical for all South Africans. Retaining and creating jobs will lead to a world with less poverty and fewer social ills.
“Therefore, members of parliament and guests must not only heed the call to wear local at SONA but also walk the talk by wearing local every day,” said Eustace Mashibye, CEO of Proudly SA.
And shout out to member of parliament Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for understanding the assignment.
She wore an Umbhaco-inspired dress by Sakhisintu Cooperative, a traditional clothing brand from Misty Mount, Eastern Cape.
Ndabeni-Abrahams also tagged John Muganguzi and Veautydolls, responsible for her hair and make-up, respectively.
What set her apart from her colleagues was that she tagged the local creatives who styled her, meaning she wanted people to know about local talent. Unlike Pinky Kekana, who wore a beautiful white dress but didn't reveal her designer.
As an influential person, get into the habit of tagging the local designer who dressed you. You won't lose anything by doing so.
Instead, you will help them get more business because of your influence as a prominent figure, and that's something our leaders should pay attention to when attending events.
For example, the clients of Boys of Soweto always make it a point to tag the brand when wearing their garments, proving how much they value local fashion, and hence they spread the word.
Miss World South Africa Claude Mashego is also an example of a prominent figure who understands her influence and uses it accordingly.
As a guest at the Sona, she knew all eyes would be on her. She knew her followers would be curious about her outfit, and she gladly shared with them that the designer behind her red and blue multi-layered gown was Masa Mara.
Below are more of the best dressed at SONA 2024.