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#2021BeGone – The Diary of a Media Monitor over the Past Year

Date: 07.17.2024

Written By

Tonya Khoury

I’m so #DoneWith21 and I know you are too.


Each year I write a review of all the data we collected during the year.  I read through them and put a timeline of events together and call it the #DiaryOfAMediaMonitor.  And this one is the most preposterous re-write to date. You’ll see what I mean in #2021BeGone

It all started with the death of #JacksonMthembu during the #SecondWave.  That was our opening.  While our country was being hammered by  #Covid19, big Pharma held us to ransom with #VaccineApartheid.  We learnt many new words this year (most of them from the Greek Alphabet) #Delta, #Lamda #Omicron. We’ve been #LockedUp, #Curfewed, #Sanitized, #Distanced, #Insurrected and #Devastated.  #Covid19 impacted every one of our lives in many different ways, but so did a mutant so vicious: #SAPolitics.

The other thing that is so striking about this set of data is how often we were betrayed.  How often our hopes were crushed. Yet how patriotic we are. How tenacious we are.  How little politics actually means to us and how much politics means to politicians. #DoneWith2021

It feels like a lifetime ago that we still believed that #Zondo would save us.  Three years of exceptional legal television drama amounted to nothing…I exaggerate, it amounted to a #CoupDetat but I’m getting ahead of myself. If you had to ask me which story dominated the #SonOfAGun21, sadly it’s the same story that’s dominated for years , #Zuma.  This time coupled with a virus.  #SoDoneWith21

Let’s start with Quarter One.  In January, we not only loved Zondo but we loved #Ramaphosa for the most part.  Our President told us, under #Zondo’s watchful eye, that if #Cupcake was caught doing anything wrong we wouldn’t need 900+ charges and 10+ years to resolve it, that wasn’t his game.  What he forgot to mention is that he wasn’t actually going to do anything at all. His game was nothing but an empty cardboard box.  We learnt of Zuma’s Secret Service with the testimony of the anonymous  K&Y, we laughed at the obvious joke, but the truth is that those brave people dropped files straight into a gaping dustbin. They were another couple of #BabitaDeokoran and #AthollWilliams, whistleblowers that tried and failed to save our country.  Hindsight can be so painful. 2021.  #ArthurFraser was there right at the beginning of the year, the same time that #Zuma was told , in no uncertain terms, to come to court.  When #uBaba disrespectfully declined it ended up in #Concourt. The highest court in the land, where a former President proceeded to wipe his butt with our constitution. The Constitution that many died for, the Constitution that took decades of struggle and pain to write was suddenly labelled as “optional”.  This came from the mouth of #Mr10Percent #AceMagashule. #How21Begun

Across the waters #Donnie #Trump left the Whitehouse, and we were given the treasure of #BernieSaundersMittens. I still love that story.

February arrived pretty quickly and so did #HighTea as #Malema kicked off a series of #ZumaTeaParties.  Thieves drinking colonial tea with invitations shipped via Twitter – yes, we bought that! #21WeWereYoung. #Cele cracked the nod to one of these soirees and shortly after that, Ramaphosa and the #Top6 were told that they were not welcome at #Nkandla.  Imagine refusing a meeting with the President of your country?  Unfathomable, so very typically 2021.

#Astrazeneca was an epic fail resulting in #RamaphosaMustfall trending – look guys at least we didn’t have to take the dodgy shots.  Right?  The fact that we gave them to our neighbours and that #BlackLivesMatter is not why we are here ok? At this point in time our unemployment hit 2 Million and we were devastated but #21WasNotCloseToDone. We thought this was cataclysmic and yet today we have 47% of our nation unemployed.  That number has grown tenfold.  The government “handed out” R350 for a person to live on a month and this ridiculous amount of money has become a benchmark for our hungry nation.  We took the trouble, though, to introduce #Gqeberha, the name that got far more press than it deserved. At least that pesky royal name is gone.  Can #Gqeberha please get water and electricity along with the new name? #21RUN. #NomaGigaba and Gigabyte #Malusi played out their sordid divorce on government time and then one of the largest stories of the year hit headlines. #ZweliMkhize was implicated in R82 million tender fraud.  People have died because of this story and since February of this year, not an iota  of consequence has happened to #Mkhize.  We still have a thief and a bunch of dead bodies where we once had a #HealthMinister. This story lasted all year and it was a particular favourite on ENCA. Meanwhile, #Steinhoff featured in the South African Accounting version of #MoneyHeist, which resulted in nothing except a small fine to #Jooste (and I don’t think he even paid it).   Noticing a trend yet? Still worried about #Msholozi? Talking about gangsters, #ZaneKillian appeared at court with a T-shirt that read #NotGuilty over the murder of top cop #CharlKinnear. #21RedLight #21BeGone

Then this, the loss of my friend and powerhouse of a woman #KarimaBrown. You’re still so missed. The media lost its integrity when you left us.  Peter Bruce described you as “impossible and irreplaceable”. Ironically this happened around the first-year anniversary of SA’s first detected #Covid19 case. #AlwayRememberKarima

Can you believe I’m still on Quarter One? Enter the annual university #Rage. No, not that super spreader nonsense, I am referring to #asinimali: 2021’s version of #FeesMustFall. His name was #Mthokosizi #Mthumba, he was not even a student when three rubber bullets hit him, one in the head, one in the chest and one in the gut. He died within minutes and the police apparently said that he had a “bad fall”!   The President said he would not fail the students. Truthfully, he had failed before he began, it was 2021 after all.

#VBSArrests mounted up, #Malema and #Ndlozi were too busy defending their fisticuffs with the security at #MamaWinnieMandela’s funeral and shouting for #CR17BankStatements.  The rolling blackouts kept us in the dark. And across the waters #Oprah’s orchestrated #SoapOpera unveiled #MegXit. #2021BeGone

King #GoodwillZwelithini died and to date the royal household has not recovered.  It was during this  time that #Duduzane said he would be running for President.  In the background I saw #DaliMpofu tell council and #PravinGordhan to #ShutUp. Ah #Pravin the big disappointment!  Within two short years, you made nothing but funny numbers #21WeAreNotDumb #QuarterOneIsDone

The following quarter, Americans watched #DerekChauvin stand  trial just like he stood on #GeorgeFloyd’s neck until he killed him.  He was found guilty by the jury, but not really by America.  They still don’t realise #BLM. I have no energy to explain it to them #DumbIn21

Back  home those student protests started to look a little more like riots and we were #100DaysToElection.  The temperature on the ground started to rise  and the news media didn’t report what we were experiencing in the small towns.  “Protests” were making the towns unmanageable.  Then a little louder / hotter if you will, more #2021 – #Ace was backed into a corner and “Hands Off Ace Magashule” branded taxis were filling the streets flaunting the #ANClogo.  It’s here that the #President had a different type of reshuffle – the #SANDF. Hindsight is 20/20 see. They knew guys, they definitely knew. #21WeHaveBeenDone

#TokyoSexwale turned out to be a joke hey? #So2021! Making up numbers by chucking around zeros like an ANC bank balance gutting party gone wrong.  He said that an amount with 15 zeros was missing for education that Zuma had left for the children.  There were zeros, all of them, just zeros. He might as well have said he was having #Decuplets.

Pfizer entered the SA market and SA took more loans than any loan shark could offer. Internationally meme heaven opened up as the #SuezCanal was blocked.  Let’s talk about heroes: the #CapeFires were both astonishing and harrowing for residents and #GiftofTheGivers was instrumental in saving Cape Town. The level of contribution that they have made to our country, even to my small town, is enormous.  Thank you, wonderful people! #GreenLightSA

Ramaphosa took the stand at the #StateCaptureCommission.  We spent a shed load of cash we don’t have on #CubanEngineers. Are they still here by the way? #BeGone21.

In May, our uneasiness had started to manifest, and the bomb was dropped, #AceMagashule got suspended and we celebrated.  Little did we know what #21 had in store for us.  We watched #LindaniMyenis funeral, the man who was killed by US police for nothing at all.  A horrific story that should have made world headlines like #GeorgeFloyd but it didn’t because #SomeLivesMatter #Thats2021

I’m trying to throw in some cheer as we go along on this #21 trajectory.  Remember #JoshAndRobbie? Two cash in transit guards went viral as dashcam footage showed two of the bravest men I’ve ever seen.  One was the epitome of calm, the other was South Africa’s #chuckNorris.  The call to #JoshOrRobbie is still a South African term for calling in the cavalry and after reading this report, I think we need their numbers on speed- dial don’t you? #21LameGame

And then during #Ramadan and #Eid, South Africa and the world entered the #Redline #Palestine conversation. Israelis attacked Palestinians and displaced locals in #SheikhJerrah.  Who will ever forget #Jacob’s “if I don’t steal it someone else will” video. #Onlyin2021

#Zondo announced that time has run out for the commission as we ended the month of May.  Did we run out of time CJ or is it because of the failed #ZumaArrest.  We had #ByElections and the #EffWasFinished.  Can you even believe that? The now kingmakers of all major metros didn’t win a single seat.  #21PleaseGetOutOfMyCar.  For the most part SA has rolled up its sleeves and got the jova, shot, vax. Our gripe is not really the injection, it’s the #LockdownParanoia.  We had been locked down for almost 700 days when we were told it would be 21. Of course, that number is 21. #LockedDownTooLong.

During  Level 2, in the third wave, we hit #stagefour, and the #Decuplets were not being born.  Only a South African can make sense of that sentence.  Well, I say make sense, you know what I mean. Nothing huge, just the death of journalism as we know it. And why not, it is #2021.  One story that really cheered us up and even had news media playing along, ah the irony, #JessicaWeAreLive. On NBC the sports anchor, Jessica, strongly objected to what she thought was an off-air introduction. Her retort to her colleague was: “No, we are not going to do that. You are just going to greet me and say: Take it away.” Jessica if you’re live – those words mean more to us than ever #2021TakeItAway

The merciless #ThirdWave  left behind a trail of bodies  and Gauteng became a #FuneralPyre. Literally  #CharlotteMaxeke burnt to the ground and who was to blame for that again?  I told you this report becomes more sinister the more you reflect. #RedLight.   #Booze was banned and unbanned like a drunk censor. #Oxygen ran out, doctors had to make choices over who lived and who died.  We kept our eye off the ball with the President’s #MissingIpad. Caster #Semenya couldn’t compete in the Olympics but #TransGender people could!  There was the #DiamondRush in KZN.  People scurried like ants – with picks and shovels.  They were only crystals. #21FoolsGold  #Ronaldo tanked #CocaCola’s shares with a three second movement by replacing the Coke bottles with “Aqua”.  Oh #QuarterTwo I’m #SoDoneWithYou

July started with the eyes of the world on our legal system as the #ZumaJudgement was finally handed down by the Highest Court in the land. #uBaba was going to jail! Unbelievable we thought, and we were right, it was unbelievable. We were told by #AndileLungisa that he would “shutdown” SA if #Zuma did fall.  (Let me check if he is on the list of witnesses at the SAHRC today?  Nah, when people tell you they’re going to become an insurgent, just keep scrolling) #GreenLight #So21

Suddenly we were back in #Level4, but sadly I missed that announcement because I was on the beach smoking a cigarette.  I don’t drink or have any intention of leaving KZN so I didn’t care.   That is my incredible reality, but it is not South Africa’s.  Natural next steps? Obviously an #AntiLockdownMarch. #21SoUnFun #Zondo started to wind up the commission.  He said that the commission didn’t interrogate all the witnesses, but he felt that it made its point.  Understatement Uncle #RayRay, we salute you nonetheless. #21BeGone.

#eSwatini was burning with a call for democracy and a demand that the King step down.  The horrors on their streets reminded us how things could be if you weren’t South African.  And there it was, the ultimate prize for SA – uBaba was going to jail.  #Nkandla, the palace of SA’s most wanted, became a fortress as Zuma resisted arrest and at the eleventh hour capitulated. #21Won for about 30 seconds and then a trash load of legal paperwork and jargon resulted in #Zuma not appearing in court at all.  In fact, a little while later he was back home, but this time the media didn’t barricade #Nkandla.  We should have known that we were being played. Especially when card carrying EFF #DaliMpofu made a mockery of the justice system and took a wad of cash and all he bought, among other things, was time. #21TooStrong

Here it is my #FellowSouthAfricans, the horror of July!  The historic period time when we were played so badly that our days, hours, minutes, and seconds were all consumed by a surreal, unbelievable, ridiculous and horrific horror movie – #SouthAfricaIsBurning.  We watched as buildings, factories and key industrial businesses were burnt to the ground. The #Unrest was weird from the beginning. Although we understood the #looting, we didn’t understand the obliteration, and we most certainly did not understand why the targets included manufacturing houses, ports, and factories. The Molotov cocktails landing on the roofs were a little too well timed and aligned, and although something was off, we ran with it.  We let the chaos envelop us and we crashed through a gushing volume of news and social media that seemed implausible and tore provinces to the ground. #21BurnItDown.  We stopped holding our breath for a minute when the army arrived.  But we breathed in when something so much bigger arrived.  Enter the key to each South African success story– ubuntu. The realisation that looting would bring only more poverty, and that a feast today meant a famine tomorrow, #SARose and fought back. If I must accredit this miracle to one person it would be #NhlanhlaLux. A hero of such magnitude that he should be given keys to the country not just #JabulaniMall.  There were many heroes after our one-week war.  The unemployed, cleaning the streets.  Sweeping up the remains of South Africa.

#Ramphosa came out and called it what it was, what we all knew it was –  an Insurrection.  His so-called head of military didn’t agree with him then,and doesn’t agree with him now. #MapisaNqakula. #so2021.  Ordinary South Africans were going through a transformation though. We learnt, very quickly, how to barricade and protect ourselves and our neighbours. Shoprite turned #CanolaOil into a very effective anti-looter mechanism. We also learnt that people can forward unverified voice notes and misinformation faster than you can bankrupt SAA.  We watched people die.  #PhoenixMassacre will have you believe it was a race war, but it was a war on South Africa and the 500 bodies were #CollatoralDamage in the #Zuma insurgency plot.  So, who was arrested for this insurrection?  Who were identified as the instigators?  A badly engineered report called it BOTS, (computers pushing tweets).  I disagreed. Acumen Media  proved exactly who it was.  The short story is the Zuma twins. SphithiphithiEvaluator and Mchunu. You may add Andile Lungsta to this list. Who worked under them is irrelevant, #Duduzane’s message was clear “#LootResponsibly”!  Yet we cannot find a single insurgent among us. That’s because we’ve been here before #21AtillahTheHun

Rushing headlong into August, we anticipated a huge #CabinetReshuffle because this country showed its leader exactly who we were and where we stood.  We would not tolerate anyone dividing us.  You’d think that this would have been  the point when a superhero of a President would of culled his infested Cabinet and we would have defended him in the consequence.  But no, instead #Mkhize resigned and Tito left the building #Donewith21. As if that wasn’t painful enough,  our hearts were broken when #ConnieFerguson spoke at the gut-wrenching funeral of #ShonaFerguson. #Tatjana brought us gold though and we were grateful.

#Transnet was hacked, Ramaphosa took the stand at #StateCapture and we #RememberedMarikana.  #SusanVosloo made us laugh by second guessing the vaccines.  By now 7 out of 10 of our educated youth were unemployed and in fact had never worked. It was so bad that even #UBaba asked for crowdfunding through his #Capitec account.  The country lost respect for its President (yet again) after it was announced that #Zuma was about to be released on #MedicalParole into the outstretched hands of his good mate #ArthurFraser while  our President, standing with his hands in his pockets on the sideline, wished JZ well. #BabitaDeokaran was gunned down outside her home, in what can only be described as a brutal assassination and the #DigitalVibes story got scarier. #Quarter3PleaseSetUsFree

In our last quarter, South Africa didn’t know who to vote for and after the winter of our discontent, suffering from  a severe dose of PTSD, SA gave democracy the middle finger.  We voted #NOTA (none of the above or not at all).  Herman #Mashaba poured over social media and made a big impact in a short period, albeit in a small space. An impact nonetheless – it can be done.  You don’t have to carry the #Xenophobic #PutSouthAfricansFirst to make an impact though. Let’s make this election story short, because, like you, I want to be #DoneWth21. The #ANC lost.  The nation spoke louder than an insurgent on Twitter but the politicians ignored us too.  Chaos ensued as we became #CoalitionCountry.  The #EFF played a #MasterCard (not a #VBSCard) and Julius is a genius.  That’s not necessarily a good thing.  He is so smart though.  Not a single seat in the #ByElection and very little progress in the Local Government Elections but he managed to kick the #ANC out of their old tired chair with the biggest insult of all: #GiveItToZille #ManAmIDone21

There was only one story to save us, to restore our sanity for a few hours, six hours to be exact. #FacebookDown and Twitter’s response of “Hello literally everyone” is my personal story of the year because it was the first time Twitter became a nice place and Zucks didn’t own the world.  He also was #Donewith21, after a whistleblower dropped files, he took to sailing.  Today his platform, #Meta (not beta),  sells virtual yachts for 600 thousand dollars. #GoSailing2021

You’re going to ask me if there was a bigger story than the #Insurrection, #Zuma and #Covid19 this year? And the answer is yes and no. There’s one consistent story, it’s been here for a while and, sadly, it’s not going anywhere.  That defunct cesspit called #Eskom and how we’ve all been #DeRuytered.  The financial  damage done by a powerless electricity generating company is insurmountable.  All #Eskom has become is a place to wash money and leave. #EskomIsNeverDone2021

We’ve met some super villains this year and we’ve seen countless horror stories about women and children getting battered and raped.  There is no time for me, or anyone else, to write down all those names. Isn’t that awful? The President said men have to #TakeAPledgeNotToRape.  So instead I went ahead and  told you about #RosemaryNdlovu ,the female serial killer that murdered at least six people (relatives and friends) for insurance fraud.  #RedLight21.  Then #GarethCliff happened, please don’t vomit you’ve been through so much, just hold on #21willbegone. Cliff failed to host a talk show, the only thing he is actually good at.  He showed himself to be both a misogynist and a racist. #SteenhuisensSmirk will live with us forever.  The #MotiBrothers were returned by their kidnappers shortly after pallets of cocaine were stolen from the Hawks.  The last #ApartheidPresident died.  We are in the #FourthWave and we are fast becoming an #AntiVaxxer nation.  Shell has taken over our #WildCoast to create Hell, they might as well #So2021 #ToHellWithShell.  #DDMabuza gave #SA’s medical industry a poor review as he apparently had to fly to Russia to get better.  You mean to make #Putin feel better don’t you? There is no shame #2021ToBlame. #QuarterFourPleaseLeaveTheFloor

And as I wrap up the year with the #Omicron variant lurking across our landscape, I would like to part with this… Please don’t wish me happy anything that contains numbers.  We aren’t doing any combinations of happy and a number ok?  We don’t talk about year numbers anymore.  #ImSoDoneWith2021 it’s time for me to have some fun.  If you are traveling or if you are simply sleeping through the holidays do so with grace and kindness.  Give something small to someone who needs it.  Give something big if you are able.  We all need a little help and kindness as we cheer on and off to 2021.

My name is Tonya Khoury and you’ve just scratched the surface with Acumen Media over the past year.



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