'Cupid' drops in on Parliament

2013-02-15 07:42
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State of the Nation 2013

See all the latest pictures from this year's opening of parliament ahead of President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address.

Cape Town - Cupid visited President Jacob Zuma's state-of-the-nation address in Parliament on Thursday evening, but he did not have wings and happened to be a Zulu.

He came in the form of jovial Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who sneaked around the National Assembly on a mission known only to him.

His Valentine’s Day goal soon became clear when he started handing out big bunches of flowers and bright red envelopes, just moments before Zuma was due to enter the Chamber and address the nation.

His first "victim" was Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who got the biggest bunch.

She seemed shocked and shrank into her seat, holding her hands over her mouth and trying to hide her embarrassment.

The Chamber erupted into applause, and delegates urged on the 84-year-old, sprightly IFP leader.

In his excitement, Buthelezi dropped his envelopes and scrambled around the floor before moving onto the other recipients of his affections.

Representing women

These included Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.

Women really seemed to be on form in the Chamber, perhaps buoyed by the one-and-a-half pages dedicated to women's issues in Zuma’s speech.

When members of the judiciary walked in, many of the fairer sex shouted "Malibongwe", and demanded that more women be represented.

Malibongwe, or "let them be praised", was a reference to the 20 000 women of all races who marched on 9 August 1956 to the Union buildings in Pretoria.

Zuma’s wives seemed in good spirits considering their husband was spending the special day with the whole nation.

Ma Khumalo, Ma Ntuli, and Thobeka Madiba were adorned in shades of pink and apricot.

The president’s newest wife, who he married last April, Gloria Bongekile Ngema, appeared not have received the memo on wearing Valentine's Day colours and was dressed in a sparkly blue top.

The National Assembly roared with laughter and applause when Zuma ended off his speech by wishing everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Read more on:    ifp  |  mangosuthu buthelezi  |  jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  parliament 2013  |  state of the nation 2013
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