Natural disasters across the world also made their voices heard and caused us to pause, if only for a moment - earthquakes in Equador, Italy, Indonesia, and Hurricane Matthew and its hard hit on Haiti. And of course the Zika Virus couldn't be outdone as it made its way into the Americas early in the year. Numerous train crashes and mysterious plane crashes also performed their bit on the world stage, as if the play wasn't complicated enough.
But enough of of the bad news. We could spend all our time recounting all the terrible things that happened in 2016 and risk becoming seriously depressed, or we could look at the many wonderful and amazing things that we witnessed and experienced in our families, our work, our communities and across the world.
Even more glorious for me were the Paralympic Games. Almost 4 500 athletes from 163 countries competed in 534 events in 23 sports! For anyone looking for a dose of inspiration guaranteed, this is the place to find it. The courage, determination and perseverance shown by theses athletes against all odds and obstacles is astounding. And South Africa brought home a whopping 17 medals, ranking 22nd on the medal table. Now if that's not success I don't know what is.
My most favourite athlete of all has to be Ntando Mahlangu, a young man who showed the world that indeed ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE if you set your heart and mind to it. The 14-year old blade-runner won the silver medal in the men's 200m just four years after he first learnt how to walk on his blades. Before then, Mahlangu had been confined to a wheelchair pretty much since he was born. He suffered from hemi melia, a condition which meant that his legs did not fully develop below the knees. With the help of Jumping Kids, a non-profit organisation which helps fit youngsters with prostheses, Mahlangu was given a ticket to a brand new life. It took him just five days to master his new blades.
The story of Ntando Mahlangu, and many others that we saw happening in 2016, is one that we should choose to end the year on, and to set the tone for the coming year. Let us renew and refresh our excitement about future possibilities, and truly believe that anything is possible, with desire, commitment, and perseverance.