'People felt touched. It was powerful' - here's what the Khoisan praise singer said at SONA

2019-06-21 07:48
An Imbongi, or traditional praise singer, performs before the start of the annual State of the Nation Address. (Rodger Bosch, AFP)

An Imbongi, or traditional praise singer, performs before the start of the annual State of the Nation Address. (Rodger Bosch, AFP)

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Everyone has been talking about Bradley van Sitters since he welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa in the endangered Khoekhoegowab language at the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday night.

Taking to social media, many South Africans wondered what he actually said.

Van Sitters, 45, a heritage activist, not only took the time to share a translation with News24, but also explained his personal experience during the "uttering".

"In our culture, we use kudu horns as a symbol and instrument to connect with the people that went before us. I actually got into the moment and felt like something was working through me," he said.

"At some point, I left my body and was literally watching myself."

Van Sitters called out the names of important people in his culture, such as Krotoa, and was touched when some in the chamber started saying the names with him.

He only wished he had been given permission to burn some imphepho (traditional incense) too.

It was an honour for him to be the first Khoisan praise singer at a SONA.

ALSO READ: First Khoisan praise-singer at SONA gets tongues wagging and clicking

"[Ramaphosa] allowing for the first time for the language to be heard at SONA, that says a lot. The mood shifted in the place," he said.

"I could feel there was definitely ancestral workings happening there. People felt touched. It was powerful."

Here is what he said at SONA:

Language of our ancestors,

Language of our fore-parents,

Language of my mother,

My language.

Welcome to ||Hui!Gaeb (Cape Town)

Our leader, welcome.

Creator bless the words of this leader so it can strengthen us. Let the name of the Creator Tsui||Goatse be lifted high.

We honour, we are in praise and we are thankful that the Creator carried us through the day. Please guard over us during the night.

Creator help us to unite for our heritage.

Creator bless our coming in and bless our going out. Bless everything that is said and bless everything that is heard. Bless us in our journey to inherit the Kingdom of the Heavens.

Bless us all.

Read more on:    ramaphosa  |  cyril  |  cape town  |  sona 2019  |  parliament 2019
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