Parliamentary staffer Mamesi Kekana caught the eye of the dozens of photographers gathered outside the Old Assembly building.
She wore a red and black traditional Seswati dress.
The scene mirrored that of the Oscars with Kekana posing and smiling proudly for the cameras.
“This is a called an apron in Seswati. The lining is goatskin, which is rare since many people don’t farm with goats anymore,” Kekana said.
Fibre, usually used for hairbraids, hung down the apron.
“This is a married Swazi woman’s attire,” she said.
The men were less colourful, opting for black or blue suits with simple ties.
Democratic Alliance spokesman Mmusi Maimane, dressed in a formal suit accompanied Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, who wore a simple white suit with a colourful blouse.
“It’s local. It’s House of Monatic. I had it specially made,” De Lille said.
DA Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko was among the first guests to feature on Twitter pics. She wore a silver-grey dress, reportedly designed by Kat van Duinen, which was tight-fitting at the top, flaring out at the bottom with a trail.
Maimane was less forthcoming, refusing to disclose whether his attire was imported.
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe did not know the origin of his suit.
“I don’t buy suits. I get given suits,” Mantashe said.
“I don’t know the difference between local and imported.”
ANC MP Faith Bikani looked striking and had to do a few model-like twirls and poses as the demand for pictures of her south-east Asian bright pink and green dress grew.
Asked about her choice, Bikani said: “My outfit is Asian in recognition of our Indian counterparts’ contribution to the struggle of South Africa.”
An ANC MPL from Polokwane, Clarah Digkale wore a bright orange dress to “stand out for the people of my province”.
She said the dress was made by a jobless seamstress, and was definitely local.
Dikgale’s guest, Mercy Legong, chose a bright blue-layered dress showing off her toned figure, with a matching cloth draped like a hat on her head.
“I work with kids so I wanted to wear bright colours to stand out for them,” she said, explaining the inspiration behind her attire.
Mzo Daphule, who works in the precinct, decided to style it up ANC style.
He wore a simple green cloth, ornately draped around one shoulder with an ANC badge attached.
The bottom half of his tight white pants were adorned in the colours of his party.
“It’s the ANC that inspired the outfit. It’s my own design, it’s my own thinking,” he said.
Parliament’s Justice Portfolio Committee chairman Lluwellyn Landers, dressed in his usual suit and tie, tried to slip into the Old Assembly building behind the cameras, but Sapa caught up with him.
“I’m not into all this,” he said.
“The speech is what’s important.”