South African State of the Nation Address: Best & Worst #SONA2019 Red Carpet Looks

ANC MP Mandla Mandela and his wife Rabia at the 2018 state of the nation address in Cape Town. Image: Esa Alexander

Apart from anticipating President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, many were looking forward to the glitz and glamour of the nation’s MPs, politicians, and VIP guests rocking the red carpet. Take a look at some of the looks.
The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is one of the most anticipated events of the year and not just because of the president’s all-important speech
MPs, politicians, high-profile figures and VIP guests all descended on Cape Town to listen to Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech and show off their red-carpet looks.

While many wowed in stylish outfits, some missed the mark completely.
From near wardrobe malfunctions to stylish evening-wear, the SONA 2019 red carpet did not disappoint!

Nomzamo Mbatha’s future self?
Twitter users compared SONA attendee’s outfit to a dress Nomzamo Mbatha wore to the 2017 BET awards.
The dresses are almost identical except that Nomzamo’s look was sleeveless. Many thought that both women looked age appropriate, but some were not feeling this MPs look.

Patricia de Lille
Former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille is known for her quirky style on the SONA red carpet.
This year she played it relatively safe in a loose fitting long-sleeved white dress.

Matthews Wolmarans and wife Lillian
The wife of ANC MP Matthews Wolmarans caused a stir on the red carpet in a revealing outfit that saw her almost spilling out of her dress.
She was one wrong turn away from a major wardrobe malfunction.

Mmusi Maimane and his wife Natalie
DA leader Mmusi Maimane looked dashing in a navy-blue suit, but his wife Natalie stole his thunder. She was dressed in an elegant asymmetrical jumpsuit.
Mmusi’s mother colour co-ordinated her outfit with his, while his sister stood out in a colourful number.

Pinky Kekana
South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Communications left half of Twitter feeling green with envy and the other half questioning her Dancing with the Starswannabe look.

Phumzile van Damme
The DA’s Phumzile van Damme used Cape Town designers for her entire look.
She looked fierce in a sparkly number by KLuK CGDT. Her sister looked equally fabulous in a stylish suit.

Bathabile Dlamini
Things did not go so well on the red carpet for Minister of Women Bathabile Dlamini. The minister’s red-carpet interview was a big talking point on social media because she could not seem to remember who designed her dress.
Bad memory aside, her black dress with floral detail was pretty decent, though many tweeps disagree!

Bheki Cele
Police Minister and SONA regular, Bheki Cele, was one of the best dressed men!

Kgethi Phakeng
UCT Vice-Chancellor Kgethi Phakeng’s looked elegant in a coral coloured skirt and print top

Busisiwe Mkhwebana
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebana was all smiles on the SONA red carpet.
Her look received mixed reactions on social media but she still looked amazing thanks to her gorgeous smile.

Natasha Mazzone
Natasha’s dress was too simple for Twitter’s fashion critics.
The DA MP wore a bespoke pink gown with sparkly accessories.

Traditional queen in glasses
One MP added an interesting twist to her traditional outfit – a pair of “funky” glasses.
She was caught dozing off inside parliament and her eye-catching glasses didn’t help the matter.

Mrs Africa Globe 2019 Lucia Ochan at the 2019 state of the nation address. Image: GCIS

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe with his wife Bridgette. Image: Esa Alexander

Tradition with a modern twist best sums up Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s look. That said, while we loved the peplum on her gown, and the unusual turquoise-and-pink African print, we just didn’t love it on her.

Mandla Mandela and his wife Nodiyala at the 2017 state of the nation address. Image: Ruvan Boshoff
ANC MP Mandla Mandela and his wife Rabia at the 2018 state of the nation address in Cape Town. Image: Esa Alexander

ANC MP Mandla Mandela’s Sona plus one might be different to last year’s, but we’re disappointed that his outfit remained more or less the same. Then again, perhaps he’s a fan of eco-chic upcycled fashion and decided to reinvent 2017’s jacket with a bit of bling trim. After all if Kate Middleton can wear the same outfit twice, why can’t he?
Nonetheless, Mandela and his wife, Rabia, made a striking couple in their colour co-ordinated, Xhosa-inspired outfits.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Image: Esa Alexander

The deep rogue colour of Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s gown might suit her, but the dress doesn’t – and it doesn’t fit properly either.
She may be the Public Protector, but will someone please save her from the choker? This is one ’90s-inspired accessories trend we wish would resign asap.
Her elegant hair and make-up save an otherwise disappointing look.

Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu. Image: Esa Alexander

When we heard the Minister of Small Business Development let her daughter, Phindile, dress her for the Sona red carpet, our first thought was “awww how sweet! She must have made that hat from pipe-cleaners this morning at nursery school”. Then we realised the striking adult woman standing next to her was her daughter.
It looks as if Phindile Zulu spent hours crafting her own elegant, figure-hugging dress, then ran out of time and had to pull her mom’s look together in a last minute panic. Perhaps that explains why she seems to have turned the sort of sheer, jewel-trimmed throw you’d find covering a bedside lamp on date night into a cape.

Siobhan Swart
Siobhan Swart, the daughter of ACDP MP Steven Swart, received lukewarm ratings from social media users. We think it looked great!


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