With the new year fast approaching, South Africans are taking stock of what 2017 meant for them personally, what it meant for the country, and what 2018 is likely to have in store. While economists are predicting another tough year, political analysts are predicting more upheaval and social commentators are of the opinion that South Africa is in imminent danger of disintegrating into factional and racial strife, a positive outlook for 2018 has come from an unlikely source: a fast-food outlet.

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When the fossils of Homo Naledi were unveiled a few years ago, South Africa was proudly centred as the cradle of humanity, with palaeologists, archaeologists and anthropologists flocking to the country to add to the world’s body of scientific knowledge about humanity’s origins. When older Homo Sapien fossils were subsequently found in Europe, the world’s attention moved back to our immediate ancestors, but South Africa has shifted the focus back to the far distant past again.

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It came as no surprise to most people that yet another ratings agency has downgraded South Africa’s credit-worthiness, yet again. 2017 has been a year of tough times, in which the country seems to have lurched from one crisis to another, and a year that has fundamentally changed the political discourse of the country.

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South Africans have wholeheartedly adopted an American tradition: Black Friday is now the same kind of shopping extravaganza locally as in the US. With reduced prices on everything from household cleaning goods, to cosmetics, to appliances, and even cars, Black Friday has become a retail holiday that all walks of life have started looking forward to.

South Africans love to eat. Across the country, we have award-winning restaurants – some with Michelin stars – and now we have the world’s best female chef. Chef Chantel Dartnall of Restaurant Mosaic in Pretoria was awarded the honour at the recent international Best Chef Awards.

Efficient Group’s chief economist, Dawie Roodt started a storm in a teacup this week when he advised South Africans to take their money out of the country. This was irresponsible, according to Dr Conrad Beyers, Barclays Africa Chair in Actuarial Science at the University of Pretoria, who said it was a hysterical reaction to recent events.

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It seems like South Africa is currently a magnet for cyberattacks. In the last two weeks, two high profile breaches have been reported, with one leaving about 50 million people’s details – including ID numbers, income and employment history – online.

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As children, we are told that much of what happens in movies is make-believe, and not to try emulate our favourite cinematic heroes. It seems that a British man called Tom Morgan didn’t listen to his parents, and recently made the news for attaching 100 giant helium balloons to a camping chair and sailing into the air – reminiscent of a scene from the animated movie “Up!”.

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South African rhinos have been the focus of a number of initiatives intended to stop the high levels of poaching and save as many of the animals as possible. Many of these, however, are centred around de-horning rhinos or increasing surveillance in nature reserves, and have made only a small impact.

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Crown Publications, one of South Africa’s largest business-to-business publishing houses, came into existence in 1986. Since then, the company has grown from producing a single magazine, Electricity SA (renamed Electricity+Control), to publishing six monthly magazines, three quarterlies, and a number of engineering handbooks.