Standing in front of the thousands of South African citizens, African dignitaries and international guests, President Ramaphosa at his presidential inauguration took the oath of office.
Inauguration ceremony at Loftus Versfeld
The auspicious event kicked off at Loftus Versfeld this morning, and the ceremony broke away from tradition in many ways. For starters, Ramaphosa opted for the Loftus Versfeld stadium instead of the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
The gathered crowds greeted foreign dignitaries as they awaited the first appearance of the president-elect. Cheers erupted for the arrival of King Mswati III, the king of eSwatini, and Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe.
Anticipation grew through the crowd as Kgalema Motlanthe and Thabo Mbeki arrived in generous applause. As the final dignitaries arrived, including Graça Machel and the new Speaker of Parliament, the atmosphere in the stadium grew electric.
The feeling among political commentators and the public at large was that there was an overwhelming feeling of hope amongst the crowd with the day seemingly representing a move from the dark period of state capture.
Ramaphosa eventually emerged from the official motorcade and made his way to the platform. The ceremony officially began with interfaith prayers as the assembled faith leaders offered guidance and protection to the incoming President.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng then called forth Cyril Ramaphosa to take his oath of office. As President Ramaphosa put pen to paper, the biggest roar of the day went up as the crowded welcomed their new President.
The President, as Commander in Chief of the armed forces, was then invited to inspect the assembled troops on the Loftus pitch.
The President gave his first public address, promising that South Africa would take a greater role in advancing the status of Africa and promising to work together with African countries for the good of the continent.
Presidential inauguration in quotes
“We are profoundly grateful to you for choosing to celebrate AfricaD ay among us; giving further poignancy to South Africa’s transformation from a pariah state to a full and valued member of the family of African nations.”
He acknowledged that many South Africans still “go to be hungry, many succumb to diseases that can be treated, many live in intolerable deprivation,” and are in the grips of unemployment.
“The challenges that we face are real. But they are not unsurmountable. They can be solved. And we are going to solve them.”
In addition, President Ramaphosa envisions a future and society that “knows neither privilege or disadvantage,” a community where those who have much are willing to share with those who have little.
In his vision, every child will be literate, every South African will be able to find reasonable work opportunities. He vowed that SA would be what we make of it; despite the “debilitating legacy of our past” and the difficulties in our present.
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