Parliament reverses decision, brings back praise singer

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African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina has applauded Parliament for reversing its decision by bringing back a praise singer at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The announcement was made by National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise following  public pressure from various cultural sectors of society.

The praise singer, known as an Imbongi in isiXhosa, is responsible for ushering the President into the chamber shortly before his address to the nation.

The initial decision to not have an Imbongi during this SONA, formed part of Parliament’s implementation of austerity measures in consultation with the President.

“As the ANC, we welcome the reversal statement by the Speaker and we are very much happy. Imbongi defines who we are, this is a People’s Parliament. Even a person sitting in the deep rural area must feel represented in Parliament. When we talk about transforming Parliament, we meant exactly this, that you must have Imbongis, that you must have choirs. We must have things that define our being – Ubuntu, our Africanism and the Imbongi does this very well,” says Majodina.