Hi, my name is Rebecca Benn, I am a 20 year old (proudly South African) history student studying at UKZN and if there was only one thing I could ask all my fellow South Africans to do this year it would be to live out and seek out joy.

The word joy is defined as: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Now I would like you to think about SA, think if you can on how you would define what our country is and how her people live out their lives. Once you have done this do you find that the definition of joy can fit in to your definition of South Africa and her people?

I feel if we are all honest with our selves the answer would be no. In my twenty years of existence; all of which I have lived on South African soil, I have come to see that we are a rather pessimistic group of people. We love to dwell on the negative and find it quite hard to let positivity shine through. There always seems to be something wrong, our sports teams have lost a big game, there’s so much crime, the government’s corrupted or we’re having load shedding. And while these things are unfortunate, should they really be the first thing we think of when we think about our nation?

I feel the answer to that question should be no. I’m not saying we must ignore the many problems our nation is facing, I’m just saying that we need to adopt an attitude of joy when trying to deal with them or any/all aspects of our nation. There,s a verse in the Bible that I was given years ago when going through a hard time, it reads as follows: “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55 vs 12).

And that right there is my prayer for South Africa this year that as a people we will embrace the joy within life, that we as a nation will make a conscious decision to pour joy into not only our problem solving but also into our every day lives. So that when we are confronted with problems wether collectively or as individuals we say: how can I turn this issue around so that it builds me up and fills my life rather than let it break me down and hurt my spirit.

Let us be a nation of joy, a people group inspired by the positive to change the problems we see around us. May we rally together in our joy to help change the effects of the past and better the future not only for our selves but for the generations to come.

If you had a mic. and the whole of South Africa was listening, what would your message be for 2015?

[To read what Alexa Matthews would say, click here]