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Four ways South Africa won in 2021

It’s December, so we’re taking a look back at the year that was. This week we’re celebrating some wins for South Africa in an otherwise relatively tough year. 🏅

  1. Let’s kick off with politics: South Africa turned a former prisoner into a president in 2009 and then a former president into a prisoner 12 years later. 😆 Jacob Zuma, we’re looking at you. We know you’re tired of hearing his name, but in the context of his imprisonment this year, we want to give a shout-out to the upholders of our constitution who stuck to their guns and sent a former head of state to jail – the first in SA history!
  1. Onto the glitzy world of entertainment: actress Thuso Mbedu made waves internationally for her role in the Amazon Prime series The Underground Railroad, while late actor Shona Ferguson bagged an international award for his Netflix original series, Kings of Joburg, in October. Internationally acclaimed fashion designer Thebe Magugu represented South Africa with clothing that even Miley Cyrus couldn’t resist wearing 🤩 and let’s not forget our fave funny guy Trevor Noah who hosted the Grammys this year and is set to repeat the gig in 2022. 😬
  1. South African author Damon Galgut was awarded the Booker Prize last month for his ninth novel, The Promise. Formerly known as the Man Booker Prize, it’s one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards. It’s a huge deal that a South African won – particularly with a book on such local themes. The Promise tells the story of a white South African family through the device of four funerals over 40 years, chronicling the decline of post-apartheid South Africa. He joins literati like SA’s JM Coetzee, who has won twice, Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan. 🖊️
  1. Then there’s sport… we don’t always shine in some departments (ahem, Bafana Bafana and the male Proteas), but the Springboks always seem to make us proud. The men’s rugby team reclaimed its top position on the World Rugby rankings, while women made us proud at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. Star swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker bagged two medals, winning the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, and breaking a world record that stood for eight years. She also came second in the 100-meter breaststroke race. Meanwhile, Bianca Buitendag won silver in women’s surfing! 🏄

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 9 December 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.