Let’s forget the disappointments and setbacks for a while. There were some real wow moments that brought South Africans together this year.
While SA undeniably faces a number of serious challenges, there were some outstanding moments this year which made us smile and brought many to tears. SA also lost some heroes, which gave us pause to stop and reflect together on their immense contributions.
With green shoots appearing in the battle against corruption, perhaps 2020 will be a watershed year as we try to turn the good ship SA around.
Though everyone will have their favourite 2019 moment, here’s our choice of some of the finest.
Rugby World Cup: How could you not be bursting with pride at the achievements of this team?
Beaten in their opening group match at the RWC by New Zealand, the Springboks achieved a number of firsts on their way to winning the Webb Ellis trophy for a third time and bringing the nation together in joyful celebration.
Kolisi, Kolbe, Du Toit, Vermeulen, Erasmus, Pollard, Mapimpi, Mtawarira etc are names we will never forget.
Miss Universe: Zozibini Tunzi has drawn admiration for her beauty, grace and poise, and the strong message she has put out about women empowerment and the importance of staying true to oneself since winning the title earlier this month. This year’s Miss SA is a fantastic ambassador for the country, who is doing us proud on the world stage.
— Miss South Africa (@Official_MissSA) December 18, 2019
Ndlovu Youth Choir: Energy, talent and all those big smiles. The Ndlovu Youth Choir and their conductor, Ralf Schmitt, wowed audiences on America’s Got Talent, eventually finishing as runner-up. They have been on a roll ever since. South Africans enjoyed the ride.
Tributes to Johnny Clegg: While Clegg’s passing from cancer hit all the sad notes, there was an outpouring of love and respect for the singer in SA and across the world, with many posting personal memories and emotional tributes about the man and his music.
Renowned for his cultural scholarship, Clegg’s music ensured he became a true SA legend and part of the national fabric.
SA Netball team: SA’s netball team, the Proteas, created history and inspired the nation when they went all the way to the semi-finals of the Netball World Cup. Breaking new ground, the team narrowly lost 55-53 to Australia in the semis.
Petrol attendant pays for customer: One of a number of feel-good stories to light up social media this year, petrol attendant Nkosikho Mbele was praised for insisting on paying for the fuel of a woman customer because he did not want her to get stranded on a notorious stretch of road en route to Cape Town.
Monet van Deventer shared the heart-warming story in a post on Facebook. Funds were raised for Mbele through crowdfunding, while South Africans were inspired by his generosity and caring attitude.
Main picture top: Screenshot from coverage of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final. Final score, SA 32-England 12.