President Jacob Zuma met with special guests for a regal and lofty “high tea”, a British meal, ahead of Thursday’s state-of-the-nation address (Sona), the presidency said on Wednesday.
The choice of the meal highlighted South Africa’s return to the Commonwealth, subservience to colonial power Great Britain – despite being a Republic – and the latest fancy of the “classless”, “non-racial”, “non-sexist” society.
“We believe the opening of Parliament and the state-of-the-nation address is an event for all South Africans because Parliament is an institution of the people and we therefore want people to visit Parliament to feel part of it,” Zuma told the illustrious guests without irony.
“That’s why every year we invite special guests of the president on the strength of the good work that they do in the development and promotion of our country and the sacrifices each has made for South Africa.”
He said those who were representing the country internationally were invited, as well as the families of struggle heroes.
Here are some pointers to tea etiquette, if you happen to be a struggle hero with an invitation:
Do not stir your tea, with your teaspoon, in sweeping circular motions.
Place your tea spoon at the six o’clock position and softly fold the liquid towards the twelve o’clock position two or three times.
Never leave the spoon in the cup especially when actually drinking your tea.
Milk is served with tea, not cream. Cream is too heavy and masks the taste of the tea.
When serving lemon with tea, lemon slices are preferable, not wedges. Either provide a small fork or lemon fork for your guests, or have the butler neatly place a slice in the tea cup after the tea has been poured. Be sure never to add lemon with milk since the lemon’s citric acid will cause the proteins in the milk to curdle.
Do not use your tea to wash down food. Sip, don’t slurp, your tea and swallow before eating.
There is only one correct placement for a napkin, to the left side of the place setting. The napkin, when placed to the left of the place setting, should be folded with the closed edge to the left and the open edge to the right. There are no exceptions! This rule applies for rectangular, triangular, and square shape folds.