The 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA) in South Africa was an event that most of the country was eagerly looking forward to. The reason was that it was to be the first SONA by the country’s newest president, Cyril Ramaphosa, following the resignation of Jacob Zuma. Amidst the ongoing “State Capture” investigations, the country was hoping Ramaphosa would offer new hope for ridding the country of corruption.
Ramaphosa dedicated a substantial chunk of his first State of the Nation Address in Parliament on February 16 2018, to persuading South Africans to put “the era of discord, disunity and disillusionment” behind them. “A new dawn is upon us,” he said.
What does that mean? Working on the assumption that the number of words the president devotes to a topic is an indication of the level of importance he places on that topic, Passmark looked at the past six State of the Nation addresses and visualised the 12 topics that got the most airtime. Education, we are happy to report, has been in the top 12 in all but one year, 2016, which was, ironically, just after the #FeesMustFall protests started on campuses around the country.
We also compared Cyril Ramaphosa’s top 12 topics with the number of words Jacob Zuma dedicated to those same topics in his SONA speeches. To see that comparison, click the ‘compare’ button below.
You can view the full report and visualisation here.