By Susan Miller
The last 12 months were largely disappointing. 2012 was a year in which SA made international headlines for all the wrong reasons, a year in which social divisions seemed to grow, and it was tough economically.
For many it was a year to forget and, while we could draw on the negatives, we thought we'd put aside all that and celebrate some positives!
Here's a look back at some of the things that made us happy in 2012… It wasn't all bad.
TOP OF THE WORLD
The Proteas topped the world Test rankings at year-end. They were unbeaten in ten Tests (nine away from home) and Graeme Smith, who scored a ton in his 100th Test at The Oval in London, is now the most capped Test captain of all-time. Let's not forget Hashim Amla, who became the first South African to score a Test triple hundred. We'll all treasure his 311 not out made at The Oval.
The Proteas won the World No 1 ICC Test ranking from England in July and held off the Aussies Down Under to hold onto it.
Bouquets to the whole squad!
The Olympic and Paralympic Squads: Big cheers for them all. We were Africa's best performing country at 24th on the medals table.
South Africa came back with three gold, two silver and one bronze medal making the London Games our most successful since we were readmitted to the Olympics in 1992.
Who will forget amputee Oscar Pistorius lining up to take on the best in the world in the 400m semi-finals? And Castor Semenya showed us all the true meaning of courage after a horrible year, winning a silver medal in the women's 800m.
Huge hurrahs for Chad le Clos of course, who edged Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly to take gold - and his father Bert who became a web star after his BBC interview went viral: youtube.com/watch?v=L1tduGQPJJw. Chad later added a silver medal, finishing second to Phelps in the 100m butterfly - and we shouldn't forget Cameron van der Burgh's masterly win in the 100m breaststroke as he smashed the world record in 58.46 seconds.
Then there was the men's lightweight fours rowing team of Matthew Brittain, Lawrence Ndlovu, John Smith and James Thompson who won our first rowing Olympic medal and canoeist Bridgitte Hartley (see issue 29) who won the bronze medal in the 500 metres K1 sprint.
BOKS HOLD THEIR OWN
Rugby: The Boks ended an unspectacular year (by their standards) on a relative high by remaining unbeaten on their tour of Europe. They were ranked second in the world rankings after starting the season at fourth. 'New' coach Heyneke Meyer's first year in charge ended with seven wins in 12 starts.
Onwards and upwards in 2013!
CAPE TOWN ROCKS
Cape Town: Cape Town is gloriously beautiful and it confirmed that by winning Africa's Leading Beach Destination 2012 in the annual World Travel Awards, which also awarded a string of accolades to South African tourism brands. Cape Town beat Bazaruto in Mozambique, Diani Beach in Kenya, our own Plettenberg Bay, Zanzibar Island, Tanzania and previous winner, Sharm El Sheikh, in Egypt for the top beach attraction.
There's more to celebrate. Table Mountain was formally inaugurated in December 2012 after being voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in 2011 in a global poll. Its new status is already bearing fruit as the mountain received a record number of visitors in November.
Table Mountain joins the Amazon rainforest, Vietnam's Halong Bay, Argentina's Iguazu Falls, South Korea's Jeju Island, Indonesia's Komodo and the Philippines' Puerto Princesa Underground River as the newly listed wonders.
It's top of the world!
SOWETO GETS A WORLD-CLASS THEATRE
Soweto Theatre, R150 million of concrete, ceramic and glass with three auditoriums and 630 seats, opened its doors on 11 May.
And that's not all that Soweto boasts – with its four-star hotel and conference centre, multiplex cinema, annual wine festival, Soweto Fashion Week and one of southern Africa's biggest shopping malls, the township is booming.
The first play staged was a special adaptation of Es'Kia Mphahlele's The Suitcase with music by the legendary Hugh Masekela.
Standing ovations all around.
SA WINS DANCE COMPETITION
SA dominated the medals table at the IDO World Show Dance Championships in December in Germany, collecting five gold medals, four silver medals and three bronze medals. They were competing with over 3500 of the world's best Show Dancers from 35 nations who were battling it out to be crowned World Champions.
Big bravos to Xola Willie, Kingsley Beukes and Bradley Peter who worked with their teammates to win gold medals in the Adult Formation and Small Group categories.
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
2012 put us on the world map as epic Rodriquez fans with the release of this documentary about two South Africans who go on a quest to find the cult US musician Sixto Rodriguez, whose lyrics of struggle and injustice had such a huge impact on us. We loved him for the right reasons and the film has gone on to promote the man's music and win hearts all over the world.
And it doesn't end there – Rolling Stone voted the soundtrack to the film, a combination of the best tracks from Cold Fact and his 1971 follow up album Coming From Reality, as the No.1 reissue of 2012.
Some Cold Fact awards to Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom who started it all!
I'm not sure where you sit on the little Monsters spectrum but I found the spat between Die Antwoord and Lady Gaga amusing.
After she reportedly asked them to support her SA tour (a smash hit), they turned her down, released Fatty Boom Boom on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIXUgtNC4Kc) and enjoyed a hissy twitter spat.
She tweeted: 'i fink u freaky but you don't have a hit. hundred thousand tIckets sold in SA. #thatmyshit.'
And: 'i guess its not a good idea to tell someone you're a fan. never mind! we get it, you're not a little monster. WE GOT IT.'
They answered: 'lady… even tho u r 'larger' than us… we still cooler than u… plus we don't have prawns in our private parts.'
Say what you like but say it very quietly.
And Die Antwoord toured the US last year on their Harden da F*** Up tour, which was a sell-out!
(with apologies to Lady Gaga)
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