Picture: Esa Alexander
Picture: Esa Alexander

1. Plastic path to fitness

Collins has chosen "single-use" as its word of the year. The dictionary says the term, now used four times more than in 2013, reflects growing awareness of the damage caused by plastic waste. Single-use (made to be used once only) once represented carefree modernity but has come to symbolise polluted oceans. Also on the list are plogging, a Scandinavian fitness fad that combines jogging with picking up litter; to gaslight, or manipulate others by making them question their sanity; and floss, a victory dance by a winning gamer’s avatar. Previous words of the year are fake news (2017), Brexit (2016), binge-watch (2015), photobomb (2014) and geek (2013).

2. Ad ban boosts publicity

A Christmas TV advert by UK grocer Iceland has gone viral after it was banned by the British advertising watchdog for being "too political". The animated ad, produced by Greenpeace and voiced by British actress Emma Thompson, tells the story of how orangutans are losing their habitat due to deforestation by palm oil producers. The ad is linked to Iceland’s announcement that it will remove palm oil from its own-label food. The advert racked up more than 3.8-million views within days of being released on YouTube, according to the video-sharing site.

3. Send me, to Siberia

Little has been heard of David Mabuza since he emerged as deputy president in February and was later pilloried in The New York Times for his shenanigans while premier of Mpumalanga. Now it’s reported he has gone to Russia for medical treatment. Apparently only Moscow’s finest specialists are able to help him deal with the aftermath of an alleged poisoning incident three years ago. His office explains his absence from the public eye by saying he is on sick leave, but hastens to add that doesn’t mean he is actually sick.