From being crowned Rugby World Cup champions, to South Africa’s very own Zozibini Tunzi claiming the Miss Universe title, 2019 was a year of exhilarating highs filled with many proud moments.
In May, the country successfully held its sixth national election since democracy, and more than 26million registered voters were able to choose from 48 political parties nationally.
The ANC secured 57.5% of the vote, ahead of the DA on 20.8%, while the EFF came third with 10.8%.
Smaller parties that made waves in the election included the IFP, the Freedom Front Plus, the ACDP and the UDM, all of whom returned to Parliament this year.
In September, hundreds of women and gender non-conforming people united when they took to the streets across the country for the #TotalShutdown march against gender-based violence.
The group in Cape Town, most of them wearing black with a touch of red, made their way to Parliament to hand over a five-page memorandum with their 24 demands.
Spurred on by the protests, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation and said the government was reviewing laws on domestic violence and sexual offences to prioritise the needs and interests of survivors.
In August, Tunzi was crowned the queen of South Africa and on December 8 flew to even greater heights when she was named Miss Universe.
After making it to the top three against Mexico and Puerto Rico, it was clear she would take the crown home after winning the hearts of many with her answer when asked the question: “What is the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today?”
The public relations graduate from Tsolo in the Eastern Cape said: “The most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership.
“It’s something that has been lacking in young girls and women for a very long time not because we don’t want to, but because of what society has labelled women to be.
“I think we are the most powerful beings in the world and that we should be given every opportunity, and that’s what we should be teaching these young girls to take up space. There is nothing more important than to take up space in society.”
In November, the Springboks’ outstanding performance saw them bring home the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Led by captain Siya Kolisi, the team beat England 32-12.
Wingers Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe crossed the line in the last 15 minutes for South Africa’s first-ever tries in a World Cup final, and six penalties from the boot of Handre Pollard had put the Springboks firmly in charge.
Everyone across the country who watched the exhilarating match couldn’t contain their excitement and emotion as the rugby team made the country proud.
Supporters had the chance to see the Springboks as well as the Webb Ellis Cup when they did a Champions Tour at locations across the country.
On the musical front, award-winning flautist, producer and composer Wouter Kellerman’s collaboration with the Ndlovu Youth Choir had them bag Hollywood Music in Media Award in the best independent video category.
The choir also took the stage at the grand finale of America’s Got Talent and wowed viewers worldwide.
Musician Sho Madjozi’s John Cena video on Colors Studios went viral this year and has been viewed more than 5million times, with dance groups from as far as Colombia having created dance routines to the song.
She got to meet Cena, and even Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa said: “Through her authentic expression of African culture, Sho Madjozi has displayed to the world the unique identity of our African people.”
And who can forget the lovely Rosaline “Tannie Poppie” van As.
Hailing from the small town of Laingsburg, roosterkoek extraordinaire Van As, 63, set foot on an airplane for the first time in her life to head to Italy to share stories about her life and her food.
Van As, who owns a small roadside roosterkoek stand on the N1 in Laingsburg, was invited to Italy, and through a BackaBuddy fundraising campaign managed to raise more than R100 000 for her trip and to make a documentary.
Van As said although she had featured on TV shows and in newspaper articles before, she never thought her story could become a documentary.