Thanks to a pandemic that essentially shut down the global economy, rendering millions of people jobless and more than a million others dead, we can all agree that 2020 is definitely one for the books, and leaves very little to gleefully reminisce on.
Putting aside the tragedies, the year wasn’t all doom and gloom and in light of that, we’ve put together a list of events which managed to put smiles on our faces, while navigating the biggest global health crisis in more than 100 years.
Africa officially polio-free
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and an already poor, incapacitated health system, Africa has reached a remarkable milestone – being declared free from wild polio. The Africa Regional Certification Commission, which has been spearheading efforts to eliminate the virus, certified that all 47 countries in the World Health Organisation’s Africa Region have managed to eradicate polio.
South Africans learned to bake and make alcohol
Just days after the March lockdown came into effect, South Africans who were stuck at home put their baking skills (or lack thereof, in some instances) to the test, whipping up all kinds of confectionaries.
As if that wasn’t enough, who could forget the furore surrounding the alcohol ban? With the sale of liquor banned under Level 5 of the lockdown, unwinding after all that baking with a glass of wine was just a dream for many. Instead of waiting for government to amend the laws, others figured they’d make the alcohol themselves, which proved to be a lucrative business opportunity if you were selling pineapples.
Pitso Mosimane joins Egyptian football club
Rounding up all the sport fanatics, Pitso Mosimane hung up his coaching whistle at Mamelodi Sundowns to join Al Ahly, an Egypt-based football club back in September. Mosimane now leads the biggest soccer club on the continent while netting a cool R54 million a month.
Black Lives Matter (BLM)
The Black Lives Matter movement has probably been one of the most contentious events alongside COVID-19, having seen a global call for action against anti-black police brutality and racism. It was the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in the US, which sparked a wave of outrage across the world. Putting aside some of the violent confrontations which expectedly broke out, the ultimate cause has prompted genuine conversations on race relations.
Another 2020 highlight was the GeeSixFive’s rise to stardom. The now late 65 year-old (real name Olpha Selepe) from KwaZulu-Natal became an instant viral sensation with the release of her single “Obani Lababantu” (which translates to “Who are these people?”) which has since topped streaming charts.
The message behind GeeSixFive’s story is simple: It’s never too late to chase your dreams. She sadly passed away in December, while self-isolating after contracting COVID-19.
Hawks made arrests on corruption
As South Africans, we have all heard, at some point or another, “calls” for those facing corruption allegations to be “brought to book” – after legions of accusations, the Hawks finally pounced, putting the handcuffs on a number of people accused of sticking their hands in the proverbial cookie jar. These include ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and controversial businessman Edwin Sodi.
Master KG’s Jerusalema takes over
With his hit song ‘Jerusalema’ at over 280 million views on Youtube, 2020 has certainly been a good year for Master KG. The Limpopo-born musician has managed to capture the world with his gospel-inspired house song, which has been translated into several languages abroad including Portuguese and French.