With this in mind, I wish every RI reader all the best for this year. This time of year brings forth planning for new ways to survive the unknown year ahead. Especially as we all have experienced the financial burden caused by the ever increasing inflation and the non-delivery of sufficient, sustainable and reliable power by Eskom.

As much as these situations tends to make one feel disheartened and frustrated, it also allow us to think positive. It should enable us to find new and creative ways to address and beat these challenges in our lives. One should start to make up for the gaping hole the holiday season has left in many pockets. This is also a good time to plan ahead on how to improve oneself and increase one’s potential. I have always tried to be upbeat in this column in the past and to relate stories of the many people I meet. When I think of being positive after a catastrophic life event, one such person comes to mind. I want to use his story as an example.

Three years ago I have written in this very column (Rolling Inspiration Jan-Feb 2012 – Frustration pages 4 & 5) about the then 13 –year old Riyaad Kader, who was callously shot in gang ridden Hanover Park on the Cape Flats.

The outcomes I have portrayed for him under those circumstances were not good, but it was a reality that he faced. I have received numerous comments from my peers, even fellow RI columnists, about the article. Some were complimentary and others were not. It made me think about the nature of the content that I tend to use. How it would affect the readers and the tone it sets for the rest of each edition. I then decided my column should be more inspiring.

But I would like to report on how happy I was to see Riyaad’s mother and learned how positive his life has turned out. He is now a typical 16 year old teenager. He has been enrolled in Eros School, settled in and travels by school bus to and from school every day. He is enjoying it and passed grade six last year. He was awarded two diplomas for his hard work and diligence.

He can now do many things independently. He enjoys music and is quite impressive to some of his classmates. This made me realise that one should always have hope in one’s heart for good things to happen. Our lives will turn out the way we believe it will. So if you think positive, believe in your abilities and work hard towards your goals, your life will turn out brightly.

It just goes to show that one should not always read doom and gloom in a challenging situation. Because the odds were stacked against him, it did not mean that he would succumb to his circumstances. Riyaad proved to me that there is hope for young paraplegics. He is a survivor. He can be the role model to others in his neighbourhood. He could even become the positive example of what happens to the victims of stray bullets.

He still needs a lot of encouragement and support. His school is still in need of funds and resources. Sports equipment and facilities are still lacking in his school and neighbourhood. Accessible public transport will still take a few years to run through the suburb he lives in. But when it does come around, there will be a positive young man that is settled in his community and that knows what it takes to achieve his goals. He will be able to inspire others with his attitude. He will be able to prove to his mother that all her love, support and hard work has paid off in his life. He will be able to live his life to his full potential. May he and all the readers of RI stay positive and have a fabulous 2015.