Cape Town's Grand Parade puts her SONA face on

2017-02-08 18:04
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Getting ready for SONA

Cape Town and Parliament is preparing for the State of the Nation address by President Jacob Zuma tomorrow.

Cape Town - Preparations for the ANC's post-SONA “People's Assembly” proceeded at a snail's pace on the Grand Parade in Cape Town's mid-afternoon heat on Wednesday, with two drug addicts spiking up in the shade nearby.

An emaciated man with red electrical tape on his face sat on the pile of scaffolding destined to become the main stage. He stared at a slab of raw, fly-encrusted ribs he had hung off a tree branch.

Behind him three men laid the first pole of the stage that is to be used to broadcast President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address, and possibly even a cameo appearance by Zuma himself afterwards.

They paced out the width of the stage for the ANC's event, while a City of Cape Town employee painted over the yellow loading zone road markings on one side of the road, and painted a new yellow loading zone on the other side of the road. He gave the gum-smeared tar a splash of black to make the yellow pop.

The party is hoping that thousands of people will arrive for its event, which starts at 15:00 on Thursday. It is expected to be a high point in an otherwise fraught year for the party in the province.

But for the people who make their living at stalls along the Grand Parade, or while away their time under its trees, Thursday means packing up and making way for the spectacle and ceremony of the opening of Parliament for the 2017 session.

It is preceded by a convoy in which the president winds his way to Parliament with an escort of motorcycles, the horse guard, and other officials in their ceremonial dress.

“We will just have to move somewhere else tomorrow,” said a man with a loose lower tooth threatening to fall onto the Jack Parow book in front of him. The two men injecting each other nearby were more concerned with finding a vein than being arrested.

Further along, the people selling trinkets, clothes, and second-hand electronics said they had been asked to clear the area on Thursday, so they would stay at home.

There was no sign of the 441 soldiers deployed to Cape Town for SONA. The closest to anything military in the area was a camouflage sun hat selling at R60 (negotiable).

Read more on:    cape town  |  sona 2017

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