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The awful pain of the death of a loved one has been brought much closer this past month. My cousins have had to sit by the bedside of their mother for two weeks in December and, as I write this, they are sitting at their elderly, frail father’s bedside. The pain that they are enduring is something that I can only imagine. They have to find a deep and inner strength to carry them through these next few days, weeks and months.

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While in China, Annette Jahnel1 noted the accumulation of wealth by a few in a society which was not accustomed to it until fairly recently but the lack of wisdom in how it was used shocked her. It seemed as if their desire for all to see their wealth was extraordinary. When in a restaurant, for example, exorbitant amounts of food were ordered even if this resulted in massive waste. Other ways of ensuring that others knew about their newly acquired wealth was the abundance of fancy shoes and clothes, jewellery, furs and large cars. In a country where millions live in dire poverty this display of wealth was quite shocking to the system.  It struck me that here in South Africa we have a similar issue with the newly acquired wealth of those who previously were unable to accumulate such material wealth and the millions of poor.

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December, the month in which we as Christians remember the birth of Christ on earth; a month of great celebration but for some also of real sadness.  Not only do Christians celebrate new life at this time but, today, it has become a time of parties and presents for everyone.  But that is not what I want to write about today but rather of how December 2012 started and ended for some of us as we experienced both the joy of new life as well as the sadness of death.

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New Year’s Eve: Currently this is acknowledged as 31 December in the modern western world. We all know that it was not always this date and that different religions and cultures have various dates for new year.  In fact, there are at least half a dozen dates considered to be New Year.

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90 available posts for new traffic police in KZN; 34 000 applications from people who are desperate for employment; 15 500 turn up on the first day at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg to do the fitness test.  It is 300 C and very humid and, guess what, the first test is to run 4km.

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