The Year That Was: Reflecting on 2020

We’re here and I can’t believe we made it. 2020 was an one-of-a-kind year for more reasons than one. Personally I’m happy to say goodbye and usher in new energy for 2021. From lockdowns to a world that just doesn’t feel the same as before – we’ve weathered some serious storms.

As you know, I’ve mostly been living on the Atlantic Seaboard since I moved to Cape Town. One of the places I frequent the most is the V&A Waterfront, even during a pandemic. It’s become so important to support your local community whenever you can and ensure that you help your money in spaces that matter.

This year, I’m working with them to chat about their latest campaign – a tribute to resilience, hope and light in the face of unprecedented change.

The 2020 festive period is preceded by months of global upheaval, extended moments of isolation, and change that few of us could predict or control. In focusing on the theme of reflection, the Waterfront is ready to contribute to humanity’s attempts to restore hope and they are geared to do it in a meaningful way.  What are  your standout reflections of 2020? 

A Tribute of Light and Hope

The V&A Waterfront will at midnight, the 31st of December shine a light of hope from the precinct which, on clear nights, will be visible throughout the city and surrounding suburbs.  The beam, which consists of 36 vertical searchlights, forms part of the Waterfronts’ Tribute of Light and Hope which will run for seven days. 

New Year’s Eve marks the first time in the V&A Waterfront’s 30-year history, that we won’t see crowds converging on our neighbourhood for the traditional countdown to a fireworks display at midnight to usher in the New Year

David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront.

Instead, a beam will light up for an hour at midnight on 31 December and daily for an hour at 21h00 for the following 6 days into the new year. Each day, a symbolic theme will draw us to a moment of connection, even though we are physically apart. Day one shines a light of hope on the theme of reflection giving us a moment to pause and reflect on the year that was. They spoke to some members of the vast  V&A Waterfront community to share their reflections on the past year.

This past year I learned…to keep moving forward and strive to stay motivated, I have also learned to deal better with losses and that things won’t always go my way. 

2020 taught me to appreciate the support of those around me as well as those who support my craft. I appreciate being part of great community. 

I look forward to some sort of normality going into the new year and lots of support from our communities towards local businesses.

Moses Lebofa, Owner of Coffee by Moses (@coffee_by_moses)

This past year I learned that we hurt, we burn and then we bloom. I think it’s a powerful lesson; if we understand and embrace the pain and allow ourselves to burn then out of all that adversity we surely do bloom. It’s such a powerful lesson that I have a T shirt with the phrase “We hurt, we burn, we bloom” available at my shop.

2020 taught me to appreciate the little business that we do have, it may be contracted but it’s something and I’m truly appreciative of it. 

I look forward to peace. I don’t want to get too enthusiastic, I just look forward to everything hopefully balancing out. 

Helen Gibbs, Owner of Helon Melon (@helonmelonct)

This past year I learned I learnt not to ever take any second, moment, hour or day for granted, it could be the last time you can do what you do with the person you are with. I lost family, friends and colleagues as well as my income for more than 6 months, bringing home the reality that everything we think we have is borrowed and could be taken away at any time.

2020 taught me to appreciate my son, husband, mom, family, my team at work, friends, my job and each day I wake up able to still breathe while others have lost theirs.

I look forward to a future where we can all learn more tolerance, give without wanting to receive, good health, love,  acceptance of our own shortcomings as well as that of others and a spirit living each day as if it is our last. 

Renee Keen, Manager at  Woolworths Cafe (@woolworths_sa)

This past year I learned flexibility; that plans delay or change, but one must be able to be flexible and adjust.  I have also learned that “doing stuff” is overrated, it’s being together that is more meaningful. I have lost the naivety that I am always in control.  I appreciate 

2020 taught me to appreciate that we have been able to get through this year through the spirit of community (keeping each other safe) – both in personal and work spaces.

I look forward to embracing the spirit of community, that’s my biggest hope going forward.

Zikhona Tefu, Co-owner of O’LIVE Handmade Soaps (@olivehandmadesoaps)

Worried about COVID-19, because who isn’t right now?

Covid-19 Management protocols at the Waterfront remain in place throughout the festive period with
the wearing of masks mandatory throughout the neighbourhood. In August this year, the Waterfront
became the first attraction in South Africa to adopt the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safe
Travels stamp protocols. This is the world’s first-ever global safety and hygiene stamp for Travel &
Tourism, designed specifically to address COVID-19 and similar outbreaks.

V&A Waterfront

Happy New Year, everyone! All I have for the year ahead is hope, abundance and the belief that things will be better for us. I hope we breathe a little easier and see more wins in 2021.



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