Lunga Hita from Queenstown, Eastern Cape was only six-years-old when South Africa celebrated its first year of freedom in which the late Tata Nelson Mandela became the first black President of the country in 1994.
Fast forward to 25 May 2019 and Hita is at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane to witness the sixth Presidential Inauguration.
SAnews caught up with Hita just after 5am, standing outside the gate of the stadium along with other citizens who braved the morning cold weather to ensure they are among the first people to enter the venue when the gates open.
Hita said he could not sleep at night due to the excitement of being part of this historical event for the country.
“This is actually my first inauguration. Thanks to President Cyril Ramaphosa for giving us this venue so that the whole public can come and witness this glorious event.
“I woke up at 2am because I wanted to be at the front row and be able to capture everything happening inside. Today’s event proves that democracy is deepening,” said an elated Hita.
He said he was looking forward to the work of the new administration and expected the President and new ministers to prioritise the challenges facing the youth, including unemployment and drug abuse.
“I’m hoping that the President will broaden the Youth Environmental Service Programme (YES) and internship programmes for the youth, to assist unemployed graduates like me,” said Hita.
For a 24-year-old Onkabetse Win from North West, the sixth Presidential Inauguration is a dream come true for South African citizens. It has brought many positive changes in the lives of people.
“I voted on 08 May and that’s why I’m here ... it’s my first inauguration I’ve ever come to. Now, we are expecting them to deliver and keep the promises they made before elections,” Win said.
Win has this message for President Ramaphosa: “Thuma us, we will Thuma you” (meaning end us and we will send you).
The Presidential Inauguration is today celebrated under the theme "Together Celebrating Democracy: Renewal and Growth for a Better South Africa”. It reinforces that everyone has a role to play in building a brighter tomorrow. It emphasises that South Africans must build on the country's achievements and work even harder to tackle poverty, inequality and unemployment.
The official proceedings are expected to get underway at 11am. – SAnews.gov.za