For any optimists who still remain with faces turned hopefully to the South African sun, 2018 has promises aplenty to try and fulfill.
But the New Year also sends out some mixed messages across the three major threads that probably illustrate the ethos of this nation better than any other – sport, politics and the economy.
The latter two are inexorably linked and the news that Cyril Ramaphosa succeeded in his bid to win the ANC presidency has been greeted by an upsurge in the strength of our battered currency and a fresh feeling of positivity that indeed heralds a new start.
The downside is that Ramaphosa will have to swim against the tide of corruption, self-serving greed, state capture, nepotism and corruption which has held the economy in a stranglehold.
All this while striving to make good his promises of improved employment, especially among the disenfranchised youth, and creating a new buoyancy among international investors to bring much needed cash into this country.
The two entities walk a slippery tightrope in this while the Zuma faction still holds a significant say. Even more of an enigma is the future of South African sport. Soccer’s Bafana Bafana, the rugby Springboks, cricket’s Proteas and the continued successes in track and field and the pool.
The elation which greeted Bafana’s 2-0 away victory over the Super Eagles in Uyo was rapidly eroded by the abject failure of the national side to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Bafana need both goals and more consistency for them to prevail.
The Springboks – overshadowed by the heroic exploits of their Sevens Blitzbok counterparts – were nearly as dismal as they were the previous season and some serious thought is needed on where they are headed.
The Proteas must carry through the impetus of the innings and 120-run devastation of Zimbabwe in looming Tests against India and Australia.
At the Commonwealth Games, where Wayde van Niekerk will be a notable absentee, the focus will fall on 800m star Caster Simenya and longjumper Luvo Manyonga, while in the pool it will again be on Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh.
We hold thumbs in all three instances.