My word for the week is very late this week! My apologies. I am losing track of certain things and I would like to say it’s because loadshedding has completely thrown me off schedule, but although that is how I feel, I know that is not true.
For those of you who may not know what loadshedding means, here is a quick introduction. It is also quite an education and I’m sure also bewildering as it is unique to South Africa.
South Africa has gone through a period of nine years under the ‘leadership’ of the ANC’s Jacob Zumba as president. During this time, the state coffers have been plundered to the tune of billions. Our national power utility, Eskom, has been mismanaged and corruption is rife. And so our power infrastructure is unstable and lacks the capacity to service our country.
The power utility’s response to this dire situation was to implement what has become known as loadshedding. Basically this means that they cut off power to homes and businesses, in large areas at a time across the country, for between 2 and 4 hours depending upon the severity of the capacity shortage.
Some days, after a power outage of 4 hours, the substation that serves an area trips upon power restoration, leaving the area without power for anything from a further 2 to 6 hours. Last Saturday, we had the misfortune of being without power for nearly 10 hours. To add insult to injury, we were load shedded again the next day for another 4 hours.
Right now, South Africa is not a good place to be. Criminals take advantage of blackouts. And even people who would not normally loot have been tempted to do so. Restaurants without gas or generators as backup are having to turn customers away. Small businesses are having to shut down. Traffic on our roads are a nightmare! I have learnt to keep my fridge as empty as possible to prevent wastage. And there is now a threat of water reservoirs running dry because there is no power to work the pumps. So plenty of water in the dams, but the water utility requires power to fill the reservoirs.
The most irritating thing is schedules are not adhered to and can change from one hour to the next. Eskom makes a declaration and voila! We are cut off. Some of us have learnt to plan around the scheduled blackout and then you get notified 15 minutes afterwards that the stage had been changed – when you are now already sitting with half baked bread or cakes in the oven. Check websites regularly we are told. But gosh, nobody can keep up with the rate that the schedule changes. We have other things to do after all.
And yes, the affluent are scrambling to install backup power generators. But the majority of South Africans cannot afford generators; the once off installation cost is one thing, the ongoing fuel costs is another.
So onto my word for the week. I have taught others to pause when everything becomes too overwhelming. Nothing much gets me down, but these rolling blackouts are starting to get to me. So this week I will take time out to pause every time I feel the irritation rise in my throat.
As always, please feel free to adopt my word for the week should it resonate with you. And let me know how it worked for you.
Until next time ☕️