Have you ever looked back on a year and wondered how you survived it? For the majority of South Africans, 2019 was such a year. It started benignly enough, cosily wrapped in the blanket of Ramaphoria that enveloped us all at the end of last year. By the beginning of February though, the blanket had worn thin, and by March, it offered little comfort against the chill of bad news sweeping the country.
No sooner had we recovered from the misery of Stage 4 load shedding, than an unprecedented outbreak of looting and xenophobic violence left Johannesburg reeling in horror. State capture hearings dominated the news bulletins, along with gloomy forecasts of lower than expected economic growth, failed state owned enterprises, and a burgeoning unemployment problem.
It culminated on Saturday 2 November in a headline to the effect that ratings agency Moody’s had revised its assessment of South African government debt from stable to negative. More bad news; next step, a downgrade to junk, and an inevitable increase in taxes. But this time there was a glimmer of hope. The Springbok team had made it all the way to the final of the rugby World Cup and head-coach, Rassie Erasmus, had just named the squad of 23 players to face co-finalists England later in the day. The English were favourites, but, captained by Siyamthanda Kolisi, the Springboks looked in formidable condition. The entire country united behind them, desperate for a win to cut through the prevailing negativity and restore a semblance of national pride, ala 1995.
The rest is history. During eighty pulsating minutes under the floodlights of a packed Yokohama Stadium, 23 Springbok heroes played their hearts out and did more for 57 million South Africans than their entire government had in the last decade. Refreshingly humble during a post-match interview, the Springbok captain thanked all South Africans for their support and attributed the team’s success to their belief in each other and their shared commitment to become stronger together. Imagine then what we could achieve as a nation if only we could find 23 such committed politicians, and a hero to unite us…
Thanks to sport, we South Africans end a difficult year filled with pride. So let me use the opportunity on behalf of the team at South African Instrumentation & Control to wish all our readers and advertisers a relaxed and joyful holiday season. Come back safe, rejuvenated and ready to face the challenges of 2020 #StrongerTogether.
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