Behind the spotlight: The people working behind the scenes at Sona 2019

Thursday’s Sona was the first one the South African Navy Band played in the last 10 years.

FILE: Public Works officials rolling the red carpet outside the Parliamentary precinct ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s third State of the Nation Address on 20 June 2019.  Picture: @GCISMedia/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - While fashion and political predictions took centre stage at the Parliamentary precinct on Thursday afternoon, a veritable army of workers and entertainers had put in long hours to make sure President Cyril Ramaphosa’s third State of the Nation Address (Sona) following the May elections was all it could be.

The South African Navy Band filled the precinct with the sounds of Jazz and African beats as Members of Parliament and guests arrived. It took the 39-member band more than a month to prepare for this moment.

Thursday’s Sona was the first one the navy band played in the last 10 years.

Music director Lindela Madikizela said that made the Sona even more of an honour for the band.

“We are going to be playing all types of music today, depending on who we see. For instance, we know the president has got the ‘Thuma Mina’ theme, so we will play the song for him,” Madikizela said.

“If we see former President Jacob Zuma, we will play ‘Umshini Wami’ for him.”

The president was expected to stand next to the stage close to band and take the 21-gun salute and sing the national anthem. That stage is where Riedwaan Masoet was hard at work to ensure the lighting was just right for the occasion.

“We take care of the lights and we’ve got guys that lay out the cables and set up,” he said.

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