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Khoi people's first Sona praise singer: 'Wow, what a moment!'

A poet and former rapper from Cape Town made history during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday evening, when he became the first praise-singer to lead a president into the National Assembly using the Khoekhoegowab language.

It's being said that Bradley van Sitters received more praise for his performance than President Cyril Ramaphosa did for his speech.

The imbongi representing the Khoi people describes the feeling when parliamentarians took up the refrain with him.

Wow, what a moment when I heard the parliamentarians echo the great names of our leaders and our heroines and our heroes!

Bradley van Sitters, Poet and academic

Originally, there was to be no praise-singer as part of this year's Sona cost-cutting measures and when van Sitters was approached, he said it was a last-minute deal.

The poet consulted with some of the elders and decided the most appropriate approach for the occasion would be a blessing.

I thought, let's bless South Africa. We need blessings and then also ancestral blessings in our mother tongue.

Bradley van Sitters, Poet and academic

Van Sitters says the fact that he was collected from his home for the event, spoke to his heart.

They said this is national duty calling; they put it in that way that the nation needs me and the nation needs to hear the language.

Bradley van Sitters, Poet and academic

Van Sitters also describes a trip to Namibia as a young adult which opened his eyes to the "enormity" of his culture and eventually led to him enrolling at the University of Namibia to study the Khoekhoegowab language.

For more of this inspirational conversation, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Khoi people's first Sona praise singer: 'Wow, what a moment!'


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