Now that it’s come and gone, we highlight some of the special moments – joyful, sad, proud, spectacular and historic – that made 2019 such an eventful year.

In November, the nation united behind the Springboks. The SA national rugby team lifted the Webb Ellis Cup as the world champions following their spectacular 32-12 win over England in Yokohama. Once home, the squad undertook a five-day Victory Tour with the trophy through Gauteng, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London and Cape Town.

On 31 January, SA Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete announced that the budget for 2019’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) had been cut by 47%.

On 18 February, Caster Semenya accused the IAAF of breaching confidentiality regulations ahead of her appeal against a regulation restricting testosterone levels in female runners. She was seeking to overturn the regulation, but her appeal failed.

Bonang Matheba went on to new heights. With the launch of House of BNG in March, she became the first SA woman to have her own brand of MCC sparkling wine, that became the drink of choice at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inauguration – and a sponsor at the Miss SA 2019 pageant.

Bioengineers at Rice University in Texas, USA, made a breakthrough in 3D printing when they recreated human tissue cells using bioprinting.

On 23 June, Sho Madjozi won the Best New International Act Award at the 2019 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles.

In Ethiopia, volunteers and state officials planted more than 350 million trees in a single day in a bid to combat global warming.

Armed rangers in Kenya escorted one of the country’s last two white rhinos to a veterinarian to have her eggs harvested, in the hope that they could be fertilised by the frozen sperm of a deceased male white rhino – and bring the animals back from the brink of extinction.

Malawi hosts the first Mister and Ms Albinism Beauty Pageant in Lilongwe.

It was announced in October that the national unemployment rate was at its highest in more than 16 years. It had gone up again in the third quarter of 2019, to 29.1%

Rugby giant Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira announced his retirement from international rugby.


The most viral story to hit the Internet this year was the hashtag #KFCProposal. It all started when KFC picked up on a video that was posted on social media on the 2nd November 2019 where a couple a guy proposed to his partner at one of their restaurants. KFC then called on Mzansi to help find the couple and it soon turned into a crusade to find the couple and bless them with donations for their wedding. 

The hashtag moved on to #KFCWedding and brands such as Audi and Lexus offered to help the couple with their travel. Airlines Mango and Kulula pledged to fly the couple to their desired honeymoon to either Tsogo Sun or Sun City, and one of the country’s top wedding planners, Precious The Planner, also got on the bandwagon and offered her services to coordinate their beautiful ceremony. The proposal made world news and really showed the spirit of love and Ubuntu.


Trevor Noah made history as the first African comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden in New York City, becoming the first African comedian to perform to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square. Noah added his name to the list of nine comedians who have sold out the world-class venue, including Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Kevin Hart. Trevor also received a nomination for a Grammy award in the category of Best Comedy Album. He’s nominated with top American comedians, Ellen Degeneres, Jim Gaffigan and Dave Chapelle.

Our very own Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, took on the world stage at the Miss Universe pageant on 9 December 2019. She took the coveted crown becoming the third Miss Universe from South Africa and the first black Miss South Africa to wear the Miss Universe crown. She is also the first Miss Universe to wear the brand-new "Power of Unity" crown, which is said to be worth R73 million. Tunzi received congratulatory messages from stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Gabrielle Union, and even rapper Snoop Dogg. 

When asked what the most important thing we need to be teaching young girls today, Tunzi told host Steve Harvey: “I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership. It is something that has been lacking in young girls and woman for a 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. That is what we should be teaching these young girls. To take up space. Nothing is as important as taking up space in society and cementing yourself.”


  • A few of our favourite celeb moms welcomed new additions to their families. Media personality Nandi Madida and her husband Zakes welcomed a baby girl in May. 
  • Newlyweds gospel superstar Khaya Mthethwa and his wife, former Miss SA Ntando Mthethwa, also became parents in February. 
  • Other first-time moms included TV presenter Luthando ‘Lootlove’ Shosha, whose twins were born in February, and Rhythm City actress Nokuthula Ledwaba, who had her second child in April. 


  • In March, rapper Kwesta tied the knot with his long-term girlfriend, Yolanda Mvelase. The pair shared clips from their wedding day in a music video for his latest single, titled ‘Khethile Khethile’
  • Media personality Dineo Moeketsi said ‘I do’ to rapper Zothile Langa (popularly known as Solo). In September the pair gave viewers a glimpse into their incredible journey to marriage in a three-part wedding special called ‘Kwakuhle Kwethu’
  • Also in September, media personality Somizi Mhlongo and Mohale Motaung tied the knot in a lavish wedding ceremony attended by the who’s who of Mzansi’s entertainment industry. 


  • Sadly, some of our favourite couples went their separate ways. Mafikizolo star, Nhlanhla Nciza and her husband, TK ended their 15-year marriage in June. 
  • Also announcing that they are parting ways in a joint statement the following month were award-winning artist Lira and her husband/manager, Robin Kohl. The pair had been married for nine years. 
  • Also calling it quits were musos Lady Zamar and Sjava. At the time of their split, Lady Zamar said that they had been dating for two years. Allegations of abuse and cheating followed thereafter. 
  • In November, after months of media speculation, Enhle Mbali confirmed that rumours of a split between her and DJ Black Coffee were accurate. She posted a video asking for privacy and respect. 
  • DJ Fresh’s contract with Metro FM was terminated after a three-week dispute in July. He joined 94.7 as host of their drive show in August, and in October he bagged his own show, #Fresh Sundaze, on Kfm 94.5 from 3 to 7pm. 


  • Mmusi Maimane stepped down as leader of the DA and resigned from the party and parliament in October. On the same day, Athol Trollip also resigned from his position as the party’s federal chair. Days prior to Maimane’s and Trollip’s announcements, Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba also quit as the city mayor.
  • In September, there were attacks on African foreign nationals around Johannesburg. This led to the displacement of more than 800 foreign nationals and at least seven deaths. Following the riots, South African-owned chain stores like Shoprite in other African countries such as Nigeria and Zambia were targeted by locals in retaliation. In late October, foreign nationals in Cape Town who had been staging a peaceful sit-in at the offices of the UN High Commission for Refugees were forcibly evicted by police. They were asking to be relocated to another country in light of the xenophobic attacks in SA. 
  • 7.1% The percentage of their salaries that people living in Africa pay, on average, for a gigabyte (GB) of mobile data. This is more than 3.5 times the amount that is considered affordable, according to a report by the Alliance for Affordable Internet.
  • In November, US President Donald Trump faced an impeachment inquiry over allegations of political interference, fake news, smear campaigns and millions of dollars in military aid being misappropriated, in the run-up to his 2020 re-election campaign. Among other accusations are that Trump suspended nearly $400 million in military aid for Ukraine to pressure that country into manufacturing bad news about his political opponents. 

Scores of women took to the streets, and the #AmINext hashtag trended on social media for days in September. This was triggered by the many sexual violence and domestic violence cases such as that of the murders of 19-year-old UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana, UWC Theology student Jesse Hess and boxing champion, Leighandre Jegels among others. Women marched to urge the country’s leaders to take action against gender-based violence.

In the same month, SA’s Constitutional Court found that there were more effective ways for parents to discipline children than by using physical punishment. This means it is no longer legal for parents to spank their children.


  • On 6 November, 11 000 scientists from more than 150 countries co-signed a letter in the journal BioScience, calling for urgent action on climate change and global warming. A 40-year study had found the planet would face ‘untold human suffering’ unless ‘deep and lasting’ changes are made by world governments to address the problem. 
  • On 7 November, an undersea volcanic eruption in the Tongan archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean caused one island to sink below sea level and created another one three times the size! 

Veteran actress Vatiswa Ndara published an open letter addressed to the Sport, Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa in October. In it, she made allegations of exploitation of artists by production houses, referencing Ferguson Films. The owners, Shona and Connie Ferguson hit back with a reply refuting her claims and those made by other actors working on some of their productions.


  • Author and filmmaker John W Fredericks died on 7 July at the age of 73. His autobiographical book, Skollie, was subsequently made into the award-winning film Noem My Skollie
  • Former Springbok James Small, who was part of the 1995 Rugby World Cup-winning squad, died on 10 July at 50 years old. 
  • In July, South Africans mourned legendary musician, Johnny Clegg. The ‘White Zulu’ succumbed to a long battle with cancer on 14 July at the age of 66. 
  • On 6 September, the passing of former Springbok legend Chester ‘Black Pearl’ Williams (49) sent shockwaves across the country. Thousands of tributes poured in following his fatal heart attack. 
  • Lion King and Isibaya actor Andile Gumbi died on 25 October at 36 years old, a week after suffering cardiac arrest while working on Daniel the Musical in Israel. 
  • While South Africans were still coming to grips with Gumbi’s untimely death, veteran radio personality Xolani Gwala succumbed to a lengthy battle with cancer on 6 November, at the age of 44. 
  • American actress Diahann Carroll, who was the first black woman to win a Tony Award and the first with a major role in a prime-time soap (Dynasty), died on 4 October at 84. 
  • LaShawn Daniels, the songwriter we can thank for hits by Destiny’s Child, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, passed away on 4 September at 41. 
  • American author Toni Morrison died at 88 on 6 August. The first black woman to win a Nobel Prize for Literature, she also won a Pulitzer Prize and her novel, Beloved, was made into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover in 1998


WE LOOK BACK AT THE BIGGEST MOMENTS OF 2019 WE LOOK BACK AT THE BIGGEST MOMENTS OF 2019 Reviewed by Jet Club on December 06, 2019 Rating: 5
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