Thousands of South Africans hoping to catch a glimpse of Cyril Ramaphosa being inaugurated as the country's 6th democratic president were up early to ensure their place at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane on Saturday.
Among the crowds were staunch Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs supporters, Joy Chauke popularly known as Mama Joy and Saddam Maake. Dressed in their ANC attire, they went to take pictures with the crowd before disappearing into a section reserved for dignitaries.
Coincidentally Chauke and Ramaphosa are from the same township - Chiawelo in Soweto.
"I am here to witness when my brother make history. We are from the same township and were neighbours. I am here to officially ensure that my president official occupy his seat. I want to see it live. Ramaphosa today, he will be occupy a seat which belongs to him.
"I woke as early as 04:00 to ensure that I am here early. I have voted for him and the ANC and I want him to change this country," said Chauke.
Maake, who was personally invited by Ramaphosa, said the invitation was one of the most memorable things that has ever happened to him.
"I have met former presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma before but I have never received a personalised invitation from a president. I was overwhelmed with joy when he told me that I must join him when he is put on his throne. I am more than blessed. I have been to many international sporting events before, but was never personally invited like today.
"I have voted for the ANC and am proud that my vote has ensured that Ramaphosa becomes the president. Today, I am going to sit around dignitaries and will meet some people I have never met before. I am part of history. 2019 is the year I will never forget," he said.
Saddam Masutha from Makhado in Limpopo, arrived at the stadium at 03:00 after spending five hours on the road.
"I left home around 22:00 yesterday (Friday), hoping to be the first to arrive. I want to celebrate with my president. I used public transport to avoid waiting for buses that were going to delay me. I am happy that I made it on time here. I am 100% behind Ramaphosa, he has made our Venda nation proud.
"He is the first man from Venda to be inaugurated as the president of the Republic of South Africa. My plea to Ramaphosa is that he must ensure that all those who stole and continue to steal public funds are taken to jail. Ramaphosa must ensure that service delivery in Limpopo improves. We demand him to push government officials to provide us with services we are entitled to," Masutha said.
Among the crowd was Minister of Health Aaron Motosoaledi, who mingled with the public and met with paramedics.
"As a doctor I want to ensure that everybody is safe and I am doing my work," Motsoaledi was overheard telling paramedics.
Sophie Sithole, 66, clad in her ANC regalia was jubilant to be inside the stadium.
Sithole said she was happy that the country is led by a black president again.
"We struggled a lot under whites. I remember living under apartheid regime, today we are free. Things were tough and we didn't have the freedom we at enjoying today. I am an ANC member through and through and I will die [an ANC member]. I am pleading with my government especially Ramaphosa to create more jobs for our children.
"One of my children is a pilot thanks to the ANC-led government. Under apartheid he would not have achieved his dream. Ramaphosa must also increase our pension grant. It is too little because the cost of living is high," she said.
Read this report on News24Wire.com.
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