FEEL GOOD | SA youth making us proud in 2019
A list of top-achievers who gave us reason to celebrate this past year.
From sport to music and academics, here's a look at SA's best and brightest who did us proud in 2019. (iStock)
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As a country, SA's 2019 has been both positive and negative. 

Our never-ending load shedding battle (what stage are we in again?) and ongoing water crisis have placed an even heavier burden on an already strained society. 

But the year has not been without its victories. 

Lest we forget, to the world, we are champions. 

The Rugby World Cup win filled the nation with the kind of pride more typically seen in Greeks and Italians and seeing Miss SA, Zozibini Tunzi,take the Miss Universe title was the kind of inspirational we didn't even know we needed. 

But there are some achievements we have not been privy to, with more than a few of the year's best accomplishments coming from South African youth. 

From sport to music and academics, here's a look at SA's best and brightest who did us proud in 2019. 


Also see: These young champions are flying SA's flag high


Sporting heroes 

In addition to Rugby World Cup winners, SA is also the home of  International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) champions. 

The South African Ladies Ice Hockey Team became the 2020 IIHF Women's World Championship (Division III) winners earlier this month. 

The South African National Netball team also added to our ever-growing list of championship titles, winning the 2019 Africa Netball Cup in October. 

Ntando's fellow teen teammate, 14-year-old Simone Kruger, also proved herself as one to watch, earning herself a silver medal in discus throw at the same event. 

In addition to her medal win, Simone also broke a world record in the discus combined class. 

The choirmasters

What began as a project to inspire and empower the youth in the rural community of Moutse Valley in Limpopo, has now become a source of inspiration the world over. 

Started by the NGO, the Ndlovu Care Group, the Ndlovu Youth Choir have come a long way since their start in 2009. From their viral Zulu cover version of Ed Sheeran's Shape of You, to competing in America's Got Talent and releasing their album, Africa, the Ndlovu Youth Choir left us bursting with pride in 2019. 

Dancing queens

Okuhle Mose puts a new meaning to the old expression dynamite comes in small packages. The 9-year-old slayed her competitors at the international Euro Dance competition, where she won first place in the Hip Hop category and second place in Freestyle. 

The Pretoria-based dance company, Academy SA, flew the South African flag high at the annual World Ballet and Jazz Championships. The event took place in Poland this year and saw Academy SA walk away with the Junior Ballet Small Group championship.

The spelling bee champ 

In a country with some of the worst reading statistics in the world, Unamandla Nontswabu from Nyanga in the Western Cape offers us new hope. 

Competing with pupils from more than 100 schools in the Western Cape, the 15-year-old was named the number one speller in the provincial Growsmart spelling competition. 

Representing South Africa at the African Spelling Bee Competition in Uganda earlier this year, alongside participants from 18 other African countries, the teen took 6th place. 

The jewels in the crown 

Our newly crowned Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, got the nation and the world all up in our feels the moment her win was announced. 

The homegrown beauty leads a number of other inspirational role-models who have claimed pageant titles this year. 

Her fellow Eastern Cape born, Phumelela ‘Purrah’ Mapukata, won the title of Mr Deaf World in July

Hosted in SA for the very first time, the event saw Mapukata come up tops among contestants from 11 countries. 

Portia Akhona Mkhize from KwaZulu-Natal travelled all the way to the Philippines to compete in Miss Teen Tourism Globe International 2019

The 17-year-old successfully went up against 24 other hopefuls from various countries around the world for the title. 

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