Inspirational stories that captured the country this year

This year saw an abundance of magical stories being told by Sowetan.

We shared with you stories of people who went through trials and tribulations in their journey to reach for their dreams as well as stories of the most brilliant minds that are working on putting our nation on the map. Here are some of the highlights:

Dr Pamela Sithole: This young lady worked as a domestic worker to help put food on the table while she was in a tough medical school programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

At the tender age of 14, she was washing dishes during the school holidays to help out her single mother.

Chef Richard Baloyi worked as a dishwasher and a cook for 36 years at an Italian restaurant called La Mama. In the 1980s, he was earning only R96 a month and battling against a racist climate.

Now the well-loved chef is the sole owner of the restaurant he loves so much.

Security guard Foster Mathebula graduated from Unisa with an LLB degree after working in the security industry for more than a decade.

The 36-year-old had to juggle his work, his family life and studies to realise his dream.

Lydia Ramatisa went from being a cashier at a fuel station to being the co-owner of an Engen garage in the North West. It was through the 33-year-old's brilliant ideas that she captured the attention of her employer, who encouraged her to pursue a career in business even though she had never matriculated.

Civil engineer Clement Mokoenene was one of the innovators who not only made waves in SA but internationally for his system which uses the pressure from traffic to make electricity. His invention was inspired by watching the pressure released when a plane landed on the airstrip.

Matiye Tjabadi from Ga- Molepane village in Limpopo developed an app that gives old cars much-needed security features such as turning off the engine if stolen.

He was inspired by the high rate of car-jackings in SA.

The Tsiloane sisters innovated a brick made out of recycled plastic. The Free State- based sisters come from a family with a construction background and this empowered them to pursue their ideas in a niche market.

Meshack Bevhula is an unconventional hustler who went onto the streets to beg for help in publishing his book. Now the 28-year-old's book, Drowning in Own Tears, is 500 sales away from being a best-seller and is being sought out by the likes of Dali Mpofu.

Mpho Masilo, who we dubbed the King of Maboneng, launched the biggest fine dining space to join other popular hot-spots in the area. This unconventional superstar had to drop out of school to become a waiter because he had no funds to complete his law degree.

We wrap up our good news trends with children who melted our hearts throughout the year.

Young Lelo Mofokeng published his book How I survived Bullying. This young go-getter decided he wanted to help other children who suffered bullying with his story. The nine-year-old has had great success since he was featured in our paper. He is now a Unicef ambassador.

Hlulani Baloyi, 13, won the national Mzansi Spelling Bee competition that saw her jet off to Kenya for a continental competition. But due to a technical mishap, she competed in an older age group and still managed to reach the third round.

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