Emotions ran high as President Cyril Ramaphosa, together with the Presiding Officers of Parliament, lit a candle, in honour and remembrance of South Africans who lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic caused pain and disruption around the world, in South Africa, 47 145 people have lost their lives at the hands of this disease.
Invincible, yet deadly, the Coronavirus pandemic has left heartbreak in its wake and has caused the loss of lives and livelihoods.
This year’s State of the Nation Address, under a rather new normal, takes place under a sombre mood as many continue to succumb to the pandemic.
COVID-19 regulations have necessitated Parliament to only have 20 members of the media and 30 Members of Parliament on the precinct, with the rest having to join proceedings virtually in this hybrid joint-sitting.
It is against this background that President Cyril Ramaphosa, together with the Presiding Officers of Parliament, held a candle lighting ceremony on the Parliamentary precinct in honour and remembrance of South Africans who lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The President, accompanied by National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Amos Masondo, walked into the National Assembly chamber, a short while ago.
He slowly took a lighter and lit the first candle, before renowned poet, singer and film producer Siphokazi Jonas recited a poem in absentia to mark the occasion.
Jonas, who was not present at the ceremony in person and with her poem pre-recorded, delivered an emotional rendition that described how South Africa is a country that is able to rise from its ruins.
Immediately after this, the President and the Presiding Officers observed the rendition of the national anthem before making their way into the main chamber.