ANOTHER year has started and we are all wishing one another a happy and prosperous 12 months. It is an opportunity for a new beginning.
The symbolism is inescapable. It is a year that starts with a nought. It smacks of a clean slate.
Those of us who write newspaper columns tend to use space such as this to elaborate. We are an angry people with the space to vent our spleen all in the name of being opinionated.
Sometimes we believe our own hype and think the things we write do and can change society.
If you don't mind, let us start a year with less anger than usual. True, the poor are still with us while the self-serving politicians and "tenderpreneurs" pretend that ours was a glorious revolution.
In a couple of days the matric results will be out and once again the reality that ours is a country of two halves, one poor and black and the other white and privileged, will be reflected by who gets to go to university and who, even if they did not fail, is left with a meaningless piece of paper.
Those little teams from the capital city with about 12 972 supporters between them look set to perpetuate the myth that ours is the Pretoria Soccer League, while the two true representatives of the vast majority of our people - born on either side of the Orlando bridge - labour on.
I am sure I speak for the majority when I say I hope that this is the year that will end this abnormal state of affairs.
Makhaya Ntini, who was dropped for the third Test in Cape Town yesterday, is approaching the end of an illustrious career highlighting the reality that South African cricket's much-vaunted transformation agenda might not be all that its public relations function has been spinning it to be.
It is the centenary of the Union of South Africa, the predecessor to the republic as we know it today. It marked the beginning of an onslaught against the indigenous people that was to last until 1994. We could choose to mourn or commemorate that event with a promise to ourselves to never again allow a gun-toting minority to rule over us in the land of our origin.
But knowing all that, could we, just for one week, suspend our righteous rage and have the soul of a poet in the most idyllic of surrounds.
It is, after all, a leftist truism, that grim joyless revolutionaries who sacrifice all pleasure to the cause can only produce grim joyless societies. Grim, joyless columnists cannot do any better.
As with any year there is no point in starting it when one is convinced things cannot be any better than the last one. Our knowledge that calendar lines drawn by human hands have no authority over how the universe contrives to do its thing should not stop us from believing that this could be our year.
And why not? What right do we have to believe that it could be someone else's year. What is it about them that makes the universe smile on them and frown on us? If we know of a reason for it to do so, then it is incumbent on us to correct that.
I choose to believe things can and will get better. Call me an idiot if you will but as that beautiful Setswana adage puts it, "tsholofelo ga e tlhabisi ditlhong" roughly meaning there is no shame in hoping.
So as I wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year it is not because I am indifferent to the pain and disappointments of the last year, nor am I oblivious to challenges of the year ahead.
I say it because I know from the fact that you are reading this that you have, if nothing else, come through 2009 with your literacy intact.
You are on a good wicket. Even the Good Book says in the beginning there was the word.