06 January 2010

2009 ....The year at a glance

Looking back at the year that passed I must say that it started of much worse than it ended. The world held their breath as we entered 2009. With a global recession that was looming like a double sided sword …just waiting to chop you to pieces?

The first signs of the recession were the increase in global food prices. We saw a world wide scramble as countries tried to soften the blow to the average citizen on the street. With the increase of food and basic necessities, it was inevitable that the poor of the poor will rebel as it got harder to survive. To make matters worse more than a million South Africans lost their jobs during the 2009 period (in comparison to the USA where the unemployment rate went from 4.9% to 10% …with a total of 15.4 million Americans loosing their jobs). From my perspective I think the World Cup has soften the recession in South Africa to a large extent – things could have been much worse. The World Bank confirmed the global economy shrank by 2.9% -- up 1.2% from an earlier prediction in March. The good news is that the bank expects the world economy to start growing again late this year, even though recovery will be slow.

With all of the bad happening, South Africans got a bit relief from the South African Reserve Bank when the repo rate was cut by 450 basis points since December 2008, from 12% to its current level. I must say that I think our Government has made a conscience effort throughout this whole process to ensure the well being of South Africans – It makes me proud to say “I am South African”. A hard blow dealt to consumers by Eskom was the approval by the National Energy Regulator of the 31.3% electricity price hike. This increase will have more impact on the consumer and the inflation rate. Eskom – you need to get your act together ‘boet’ …we slowly but surely getting gatvol of your mismanagement and bad planning.

2009 also saw various developments in the area of news - especially in politics where many countries in the sub-region conducted national and presidential elections. Botswana, South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Namibia all conducted general elections during the course of this year, with most of them being declared as having been free and transparent. We all held our breath in South Africa as Jacob Zuma was inaugurated as President of the Republic…many though chaos was bound to follow. I think South Africans have the “over-reacting” gene in their blood, and the process went of without a glitch. Now a few months later I must say: “President Zuma – Jy is ‘n doring!! You have done a lot in a very short time and I think that you are a well deserving of being President”. He also introduced the Presidential Hotline, where you can logg a complaint if your local government/office is not performing. The number is 1773 …should you ever need to use it. Another figure that was constantly in the news was Julius Malema… some things never change and he is still a cunt (pardon my French).

Joost finally came clean ….as if we ever doubted it was him in the video tape. Lady Gaga made a global impression and spiraled to stardom. Caster Semenya were remembered for different reasons. Michael Jackson & Stephen Gately both died in 2009 …a huge loss to the world of entertainment. Then District 9 hit our screens and we were in awe that it was shot in our back yard …the City of Gold ..- Jozi. With the finishing of the movie studios in Cape Town, we will have our own hub for local production …and also make South Africa a pit stop on the International movie front.

South Africa hosted a very successful Confederations Cup …something which silenced all the critics who though South Africans were a nations of idiots, and that we won’t be able to pull something like this off. I hope all of you eat your hats when we get to the World Cup – as we will dazzle the world with a experience never seen before!! Gooooo South Africa !!!

The Climate conference in Copenhagen was supported by 170 countries. As Africa has been plagued by erratic climate changes (severe droughts and extreme rainfall in other areas) – we know the urgency that we have to deal with Climate Change. South Africa was unhappy about Copenhagen's failure to produce a legally binding climate change agreement and added that it was unacceptable, joining a global chorus of condemnation even though it helped draft the final accord.

November saw the new Mr Gay SA, Charl Van Den Berg crowned at a glitzy event at the Pretoria State Theatre. With what is happening in Uganda, I think that Charl has to pick up the role as our GLBTI representative and make our voices heard to our brothers and sisters in Africa who is being murdered
due to their sexuality. Make us proud Charl.

Another milestone in our race to host the best World Cup ever is that all our stadiums were not just finished in time …but in some instances finished as much as 6 months before schedule. Another celebration of the South African pride, skill and determination to show the world what a great nation we are.

There has been tears and laughter …but through it all we always come together as a nation. The critics and the ones sitting on the fence pointing fingers …maybe it is time you take that finger and put it where the sun don’t shine …and start realising that South Africa is the place to be and that we are indeed not just the Rainbow Nation, but a nation who is hard working, has integrity and that will be victorious far beyond the 2010.

Ke Nako South Africa ….we are ready

My message to you: Have a fantastic 2010. Take every opportunity that comes your way. Be optimistic – because you have all the reason to be, Don’t be afraid to make the change, take that chance, make a difference and be the best you possible. Life is not about finding yourself …but about creating yourself !!!

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