It feels like only yesterday when we celebrated the New Year, 2013, but like all the preceding years it will soon become only just a memory. Our optimisms, pessimisms, apprehensions, resolutions and the usual uncertainties have either been confirmed or debunked. The passing of former South African president Nelson Mandela is undoubtedly the biggest story of the year. He will surely be missed.
But we have all had own personal battles to fight, obstacles to conquer, and dreams to achieve. The year has brought a concoction of mixed fortunes, good and bad, to all of us both as individuals and collectively as a nation.
Earlier this year our sister publication, The Telegraph, carried a sad story of a five year old Lionel Malgas from Bokspits. He had been diagnosed with Traverse Myelitis, a rare neurological disorder that rendered him paralysed from waist down. It could not have been a good year for the little boy and his parents. But it would seem Santa Clause does read our papers as evidenced by his ‘elves’ in the form of Batsweletse Tagwa, his wife Oreeditse and friends who saw it fit to put a golden smile on the little boy’s face this Christmas. The good Samaritans made a donation to little Malgas to help with his day to day expenses including therapy. “I was deeply touched when I read the story on paper,” he said. “I have a two year old son and couldn’t help thinking it could have easily happened to him.” Tagwa says he then decided he would do something to help Malgas this December and asked his family, friends and colleagues for donations.
On a sombre note, Sunday Standard photographer Oaitse Sejakgomo, and Bame Moremong have had a year to forget after losing both parents and a father respectively. Sejakgomo says the year 2013 will undoubtedly go down as the worst for him personally after losing both his parents within three months. “It is one of the things I will never forget,” he says. And the woebegone expression on his face tells a harrowing story; completely uncontrived. “My father’s passing, in August 2013, was perhaps the most painful because it was absolutely unexpected.” He says his father had a heart attack after learning about the seriousness of his mother’s cancer condition. “They were soul-mates,” Sejakgomo says. Three months after losing his father (November 2013), his mother succumbed to the cancer. “As much as it was heart wrenching to lose my mother it was also a relief that she would no longer have to endure the pain inflicted by the cancer. She had suffered incredible pain throughout her illness.”He says he had earlier during the year also lost his aunt whom he viewed as his second mother. “It is like losing two mothers in the same year.” Sejakgomo says his belief in God is what keeps him going.
For Moremong and family, the news of her father’s passing were a bitter sweet pill to swallow. It was bitter because they had lost a father, a husband, a friend, and a companion; sweet because they could not bear the reality of seeing him endure the indignity of being helpless, frail and in constant pain. “He was a big part of our family,” she says. “He was a man of dignity, a man of God.” She says unlike all the absent fathers out there her father was always there for her and her two sisters, Tshepidi and Norma. “He married us all off.” She says after suffering a long illness they take comfort in the hope that her father has finally found peace.
Bambi Lepono also lost his mother early this year. He says life has been tough since but with time, he says, it gets better. “It was difficult to accept at first but as time elapsed I learnt to let go and move on with my life.” He says there are some occasional flashbacks that bring back sad memories but they are few and far between.
On the brighter side our colleague Reuben Pitse got to say his ‘I dos’ to his long time sweetheart, Balibi, at the weekend. The two had been dating for four years. Dimpho Kabelo and her partner, Odirile Motlhokodise, celebrated the birth of their first child, Maduo. “, there is no greater feeling than being a new parent,” she says. After working for almost two years as an intern Maduo Radikgomo finally got the nod and will begin 2014 as a fulltime employee.
There are, of course, many other untold stories that could not be included in this article but that does not in any way, diminish their significance.
The Sunday Standard newspaper also had a year to remember, scooping MISA and Lilac awards for Best Design and Best Overall Newspaper respectively.
As 2013 draws to a close , those who have been on the wrong side of fortune can breathe a sigh of relief and hope for a more compassionate and rewarding 2014. Those who had luck on their side can hope to continue where they left off, and look forward to a potentially more prosperous new year.