South Africa

WATCH: ‘It means South African something …’ Joburg residents on what Sona means


A snap survey by The Citizen has revealed that quite a number of Johannesburg residents did not watch or listen to the State Of the Nation address (Sona) by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday last week.

There were varying reasons from load shedding to simply a lack of interest in the address.

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Of the residents who confirmed they had listened to the address the majority said they had no idea what the president had talked about or what his focus was.

“I just know that he talked about Tintswalo but I don’t know where she lives,” an indifferent Siviwe Plaatje, who lives in Selby, Joburg South said.

He said he had wanted to hear more about the social grant and whether the amount would be increased or not.

“We are suffering bro, that money can’t buy anything now,” he said dejectedly.

Some complained that they had failed to watch the president’s Sona as their areas were under load shedding.

“ We did not have power so I have no idea what he talked about,” a South Hills resident, who declined to give his name, said.

What does Sona mean?

During a survey at three busy malls (The Glen Shopping Mall, Southdale, Mall of Africa) and around Joburg Central, some residents who were asked to explain what the abbreviation Sona stands for where not able to do so.

Others simply didn’t care even when it was explained to them what the abbreviation meant.

The majority declined to be on camera but proffered ignorance of the address or why it was made.

ALSO READ: Economists respond to Sona: just electioneering with no detail

Tintswalo analogy

From RDP houses to free public schools, President Ramaphosa‘s Sona started off with the ANC government’s performance so far since taking over from the apartheid regime in 1994.

Delivering his seventh Sona  at the Cape Town City Hall, an emboldened Ramaphosa walked down the 30-year history of democratic South Africa.

His speech was carefully narrated and peppered with anecdotes of the late former president Nelson Mandela casting his vote in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal in 1994.

In a crucial election season and with the absence of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs, he seized the slight reprieve from disruptions in the Cape Town City Hall to talk about “democracy’s children”.

He identified and named one of them as Tintswalo, a Xitsonga name meaning grace.

ALSO READ: ‘I am looking for a pen’- What Ramaphosa said about the NHI at Sona

Tintswalo grew up in a society that was worlds apart from the South Africa of her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, said the President.

“The story of the first 30 years of our democracy can be best told through the life of a child called Tintswalo born at the dawn of freedom in 1994.

“She grew up in a society governed by a constitution rooted in equality, the rule of law, and affirmation of the inherent dignity of every citizen,” the president said.

Additional reporting by: Getrude Makhafola