Power makes the world go around. You don’t realise how integral it is to our modern lives until it is taken away. South Africa’s power utility is struggling to keep up with the demand for power. This is due to various reasons which can’t be addressed in the short term. Three times during the course of 2019, South Africans experienced periods of what is called load shedding for two to three weeks during which the power utility cut off the power to different areas on a rotational basis.
This power problem has existed, in varying degrees for over ten years and has become progressively worse. In December 2019, just before the factories and businesses closed for the Christmas break, we experienced the worst load shedding to date with the power going off for four to six hour intervals twice during a day. The intervening periods when power was available were to short for the back up batteries that power the cell phone towers, WiFi providers and other such services to recharge so for a few days the cell phones were only working intermittently and the WiFi was so slow and unreliable it couldn’t support services like Skype. It was a rather frightening time as it makes you feel as if your life is falling apart when the services you rely on are not there when you need them for work and other purposes.
We are hoping that the necessary maintenance and other steps necessary to keep our businesses and mines operational will have been taken over the past few weeks and the next few months will be good ones.
This is a poem I wrote during our Southern hemisphere winter about the load shedding:
In the dark
The sun’s sliding downward in the West,
The cold a most unwelcome guest,
When its time to put on heaters and lights,
That’s when load shedding really bites.
Life is tough at the best of times,
Bitter sweet, a bit like limes,
It stretches most people to the hilt,
Without extra things to make life tilt.
It’s difficult, trying to get things done,
Cooking in the dark is not much fun,
It’s even worse getting kids to study,
Any excuse to stop and chat to a buddy.
We should feel blessed that we have gas and a genie,
Although this costs a pretty penny,
We are better off than the rest,
Of the situation we should make the best.
So why then do I feel so bad,
Sitting in a traffic jam makes me mad,
When I lie in the dark at night,
Every noise gives me a fright.
Maybe the oversees pastures really are greener,
Even if our life may be a bit leaner,
At least the lights will reliably work,
And lack of power won’t drive me berserk.
By Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Written for Linda G Hill’s weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.
Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “ow.” Find a word that contains “ow” or use it as a word in your post. Have fun!