As I sit at my desk reflecting what I would write, my mind stalled on the year past. 2020 has arguably been the most memorable in my lifetime for several reasons.

First and foremost, of course it has been the year of Covid 19. A mere year ago we had just the won the Rugby World Cup. We had never heard of this virus that would sweep the world infect millions upon millions, affect all of the almost 8 billion that inhabit our beleaguered Planet and kill many millions whose immune systems simply could not cope. That virus is still with us and will be for some time to come. We will need to continue to be vigilant and even more vigilant to stave off the viruses that are still to come which we also have never heard of.

At the beginning of 2020 we were battling to turn on the economic turbines. We were battling the aftermath of the Zupta onslaught on our country and world economy was also not being particularly helpful.  We had a current running against us. And Covid19 hit. It could not have come at a worse time for our economy. The battle was really on. Added to this was the mood of negativism and unhappiness with almost everything.

But we have learned to adapt and to grow. We have found new ways of doing old things.  We have re-established links with friends we had all but forgotten. We have learned to be kinder and more caring. We have learned that the only way through this is by collaboration and support. We could never do it on our own. We have learned that we are completely reliant on, and subject to, the kindness and generosity of our Planet. We have learned that it is more important to listen to the scientists and the science than to believe what the politicians tell us. Most importantly, we have learned how to be more resilient.

In the last few weeks, the world has sat on tenterhooks waiting for Americans to show us their true character. It is a relief that we know that they want a kinder, more caring, more engaged, more resilient and a more sustainable America. They do not want the dictator-type strongman who believes only in his own rhetoric to the detriment of all around him, except those closest to him. There is a lesson in this for all of us, for the world. We need each other; we are better together; and we are certainly stronger working together than trying to do it on our own.

And what of the year ahead?

Covid19 and probably others will still be with us. Vigilance will still be required. The economy which is beginning to show some nice green shoots will not magically spring fully to life and we have heavy debts to repay because of monies we have been forced to borrow to fight the virus. The Zondo Commission will still be busy exposing the rot that the rotter Zuma and his cabal dumped on us. The crooks will continue to be arrested and hopefully many of them will end in gaol where they belong.

So, what is it that us mere mortals should be setting our sights on for 2021?

South Africans at all levels and in all walks of life must actively work together to build a better country. This is not pie in the sky. Other countries that have been devastated and riven apart by hatred, lousy government, misleading politicians have pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps and not only fixed their countries but taken them to winning country status. Look at Japan, Germany, Korea and others.

We must fight hard for direct representation in parliament and scrap the party system that we all know does not work other than to allow the entitled to feed at the trough of corruption and complacency. This is not a job for someone else. This is a job that belongs with each of us.

The Planet needs our help and love if it is to continue nurturing us and giving to us so generously. We must learn to touch the Earth gently; try to give back more than we take; help others understand just how important it is to love all that is alive and to nurture it!

It is perfectly attainable to influence the people around you: Create an active community group which cleans the neighbourhood, keeps it safe, cares for the elderly and infirm, instals community-level sustainable power, teaches kids, transfers skills, turns waste into money, helps the municipality to properly serve its citizens, repairs streets, creates soup kitchens, learns to listen carefully to disparate voices not just the ones in your immediate vicinity, and creates job empowerment projects by means of all of these things. This is not rocket science. There are many examples that can be followed. What it takes is for us to watch less television and become a much more active, involved and caring citizens.

If all our roughly 58 million South Africans were to do this, we would be a winning nation in no time at all. 2021 is a great year to start!