The year 2014 has certainly turned heads with quite a few attention grabbing headlines. We look back.
NOT SO long ago, it was the impoverished children of Verdwaal in North West to whom we directed our journalistic and sympathetic eyes.
They died while on a tortuous journey looking for their mother and sister, who had gone looking for food. We went all our way to highlight the plight of the children, including retracing their footsteps. Help for the children came in late.
But it was nonetheless our work that resulted in crucial interventions by GoodSamaritans who contributed food parcels to the family and by the government, which began rolling out social grants in the area to prevent further deaths.
Painful as it was to report about such suffering in our communities, Sowetan staffers are, however, proud that at least for those who remained behind, their condition was somewhat ameliorated.
Then there was Ntshalleng Le Bana, the day care centre for the disabled that was on the verge of being closed.
No sooner had we highlighted the plight than the individuals and institutions with good conscience stood up to help the "Children of God", as the motto of the school written on the wall of the RDP house where itoperates clearly states.
Now, a wall is being built around the daycare centre. Some government and private sector entities have also offered to help. Some have pledged financial aid. Some food. Some have offered to improve the physical infrastructure of the school. And others have offered wheelchairs to give the kids some form of mobility.
As we have stated in these pages before, it's the kind of intervention that makes us realise that, notwithstanding the culture of crass materialism that has come to define our social values, there are people out there who have consciences. These are people who are working hard to build a compassionate society.
So it was with great relief that Goodwill Ramothata, whose suffering we brought to the nation's attention this week, is receiving help from good people in the government to alleviate his pain.
Ramothata suffers from a rare condition. His skin is ruptured to the extent one can almost see his skull. For years he has lived in constant pain. His family was given the run-around by some healthcare facilities. Our story on him has jolted the authorities to act more responsibly.
The Gauteng health department has taken him to medical specialists who are assessing his situation. We hope that out of this process Ramothata will begin to live a normal life like anyone else.