Gallery: the SONA red carpet

The State of the Nation Address by President Jacob Zuma took place on 11 February 2016, an important date for the country. It was the anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison 26 years ago. We take a look at the dignitaries as they arrived at Parliament.

SONA 2016 South Africa’s annual State of the Nation Address took place in Cape Town on 11 February 2016. (Image: GovernmentZA, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)


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Compiled by Priya Pitamber

On the 26th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, 11 February 2016, President Jacob Zuma addressed the nation in the annual State of the Nation Address (SONA). He described Mandela’s release as “one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of our country”.

It was also the 50th anniversary of the apartheid government’s declaration that District Six in Cape Town would be a whites only area, leading to the forced removals of more than 60 000 residents.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Constitution being signed into law by Mandela. The signing took place in Sharpeville on 10 December 1996.

“We are proud of our democracy and what we have achieved in a short space of time,” Zuma said. “Our democracy is functional, solid and stable.”

However, before the speech, ministers, members of the government and others put their best foot forward on the SONA red carpet. More often than not, the speech, which marks the annual opening of Parliament for the year, is a colourful affair held with much aplomb.

L Zulu Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu arrives on the red carpet in Plein Street for the State of the Nation Address in Parliament, Cape Town, on 11 February 2016. (Image: GovernmentZA, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

Mandla Mandela Inkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela and his wife arrive on the red carpet for SONA 2016. (Image: GovernmentZA, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

B Manamela Deputy Minister Buti Manamela and his partner walk the red carpet for SONA 2016. (Image: GovernmentZA, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

M Phosa Former ANC treasurer Matthew Phosa and his wife arrive for the 2016 SONA. (Image: GovernmentZA, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

T Didiza Thoko Didiza on the SONA 2016 red carpet. (Image: GovernmentZA, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)

J Zuma President Jacob Zuma, Bongi Zuma, Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete, and NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise arrive at Parliament for SONA 2016. (Image: GovernmentZA, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)