Cyril Ramaphosa has humour in his arsenal, and he knows how to use it. We’re used to humour in the SONA and in Parliament, we had former President Jacob Zuma for nine years, after all. But Cyril is different.
Historically Cyril Ramaphosa’s public addresses have showcased his ability to control a room and inject humour to help get his message across.
This was a feature of the previous SONA and inauguration address when he disarmed them with a joke. All it took was one joke.
Watching the EFF cause disruptions in Parliament became the status quo over the years. We expected it. And then the State of the Nation Address happened in February 2019 and our lives changed forever.
Ramaphosa diffused the situation by saying that if Malema won the May Elections, he would sing Hugh Masekela’s Thuma Mina. He then joked about recruiting Maimane into the band.
SONA 2019: Cyril had some jokes
However, this was a more sombre occasion as the President did his best to set the country’s mind at ease that the government would take their responsibilities seriously. That, however, didn’t stop him from lightening the mood.
As President Ramaphosa outlined his vision of bringing jobs back to South Africa by buying locally produced products he proclaimed that the suit, tie, and shirt he was wearing was produced in Salt River, in Cape Town by House of Monatic.
Cheekily, the President told the assembled officials and dignitaries that they would have to make do with the origin story of his outerwear, leaving the substance and source of his underwear a mystery.
This lighter moment in the otherwise serious address also served to shame some of the members of parliament who arrived in designer brands, a fact not lost on social media.