After an outcry from the South African public, Parliament has reconsidered its decision to not have an imbongi welcome President Cyril Ramaphosa into the National Assembly for the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise confirmed the return of the imbongi saying: “I can confirm that tonight we will have an imbongi.”
She added: “that pressure that the South African public put on us has really been heard”.
News24 previously reported that parts of SONA will be scaled down due to financial considerations, including removing the traditional imbongi from the proceedings.
That decision was met with disapproval from South Africans with some saying that it seemed the one uniquely African aspect of the proceedings ought not to have been removed.
Mr President @CyrilRamaphosa, can we crowd fund? Imbongi is that 1 thing that sets us apart from the majority. It’s the only “African element” to a rather Western ceremony
Please reconsider ????…how do we say no we can’t afford your services to other lil praise singers like this pic.twitter.com/TS8rlus8J2
— Aldrin Sampear (@AldrinSampear) June 13, 2019
In our tradition Imbongi is not arranged..It happens spontaneously! Parliament must go back to its African roots..Plss
— Tornado..Veteran 102 (@tyengeni1954) June 14, 2019
The event will kick off at 17:00, with guests and members of the diplomatic corps walking down the red carpet along Parliament Street, from the gates of the National Assembly building to the building itself.
Processions of the judiciary, premiers of the provinces and speakers of provincial legislatures will start at roughly 18:30.
The president will then arrive and, after being saluted, the national anthem will play followed by a 21-gun slate and a fighter jet flyby.
The president, presiding officers and parliamentary officials will then make their way into the National Assembly Chamber where the president will deliver his SONA to the joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces at 19:00.
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