Was 2014 a success or failure for South Africa?

2014-12-22 21:11

“A year ago, I would have never pictured my life the way it is now...”

How often do we hear the phrase “A lot can change in one year”? We hear it a lot but have a tendency to down play the extent of its true meaning. I cannot comprehend the growth and development that I gained from 2013 to 2014. This year was more complex and uncertain than Disney’s most dangerous roller coaster ride. There were times where I felt like I might fall off.  I guess everyone has that year where you are flung from two opposite sides of a continuum. At times you feel like you are untouchable and a week later, you have no idea how you are going to survive.

At a closer glance I can easily say that this was one of the most difficult but amazing years of my life to date. I had the opportunity to do things nineteen and twenty year olds could only dream of. Firstly, I ran in the national elections as a Youth President of a political party where I was listed on the parliamentary candidate list. Then to my pleasant surprise, I made the Mail and Guardians Top 200 Young People under 35 list at the age of twenty.  I also lead the Black Lawyers Association Wits Branch as the Chairperson; while simultaneously starting my build a school foundation which will take prominence in 2015, and finally, I completed my penultimate year at Law School. Most importantly I spent 2014 putting in all the effort needed to successfully publish, what I hope to be a bestselling book in 2015. I am grateful and humbled by my hard work and achievements this year but it was not all smooth sailing.

I struggled at times to balance my personal, academic, political and social life. I felt like an underdog on many occasions. There were times where it became necessary for me to rectify mistakes that I made so that at the end of the day I could safely say that this year was a successful one overall. I learnt and learnt again, I probably learnt more this year than I ever did in my entire life. Society perceives not achieving a goal at the first attempt as a failure, but it should rather be seen as an area of development or as a chance to say I have learnt. This is my view and it has certainly put me in good stead. For that, I will always be grateful because only with lessons learnt can we grow and change into the people we aspire to become. I must point out that this was a roller coaster year for South Africa as well.

During this year international and local factors affected our currency to such an extent that the conversion rate between the Rand and Pound is just under R19, putting it in a weak position. South Africa does not have sufficient local savings to pay off its deficits, and is thus dependent on foreign savings to close the gap. The ‘reasons’ for our lack of savings is presumed to be related to structural issues like a collapsing state and labour legislation. Consequently, such issues lead to a weak GDP growth. Our economy was hard-hit by an extended platinum mine worker strike in the first half of the year, which was followed by further labour unrest in the gold and metal sectors. There was the Numsa and Cosatu break down, and can recall strike after strike that fell into this year.

We need to sell more and buy less from other countries. We need to narrow the account deficits and sell commodities at higher prices. We should have fewer strikes and most importantly, we must facilitate greater productivity.

This year we had the Oscar Pistorius and Shrien Dewani trials splashed all over the news in combination with the world questioning our justice system.  We had the disruptions in Parliament on numerous occasions with the introduction of the EFF; we also had “the pay back the money” dilemma.  We had the heart-breaking death of Senzo which emphasizes the horrible and high crime rate

On the other hand, there were noteworthy positives that sprung from 2014. For the first time in 40 years our Miss South Africa went on to lift the Miss World crown, our very own Rolene Strauss truly deserves the title. She can be the Michelle Obama of our country. When girls in high school aspire to be like Strauss, they will try and develop qualities like ambition, confidence and all round awareness. Strauss exemplifies inspiring characteristics, being the educated, gentle and poised woman that she is. Rolene Strauss, I would just like to congratulate you for making our country and continent proud.

We saw a Bafana Bafana side turn into a team of champions with their performance throughout the  AFCON qualifiers. The team has certainly out done themselves and now look like one of the favourites for the AFCON in early 2015.

Last but not least, this year saw the ANC take our country forward by winning the national elections by quite a large margin; the new cabinet looks more competent and professional than ever before. The future certainly looks promising.

Thank you 2014 …We are ready for a new year!

I hope that you all have a great and prosperous 2015.


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