Load shedding is a South African term describing those moments when our electricity provider decides who gets power. And when. Indiscriminately. Load shedding has nothing to do with any type of bowel movement, even though you might want to shit your pants when the power suddenly disappears in the middle of a Game of Thrones episode.
Escom, which is South African for “they are useless” does not generate enough electricity to fulfil the needs of the people and industry of this wonderful country I live in. It’s part of our daily existence, just like biltong, Springbok rugby and Mrs Ball’s Blatjang. We as citizens don’t even complain about it anymore, and if we do, no-one listens. Accusations has been flying like mortars on D-day as to the reasons for the shortage of power. The bombs of blame ranges from poor management to pathetic management. Not forgetting the politicians who’s involved as our energy producer is a parastatal. Or in other words an organization with political authority which is suppose to serve the state indirectly. (This fact should explain everything.)
In defence of the mighty ministers involved, some of them are doing their bit to help. They are defusing some of the pressure on the energy grid by not switching on their own lights, like ever…If you catch my drift…But for those of you who are still waking up… Having a brain doesn’t guarantee the ability to use it properly.
During the evenings our programming would often be interrupted by a voice which would inform us about the state of the grid and what we should do to help. It’s just some guy with an inferiority complex that belts out the following notification:
“Electricity usage is high. Please switch off all unnecessary lights, geysers and swimming pool pumps.”
In severe cases when the electricity usage is critical, he will tell you to switch of everything except for the television and maybe one light. In case you were wondering, South Africa doesn’t have load shedding police. They are just relying on the citizens to do the right thing. Which would be to get up from the couch, drop your cosy blanket, switch off the heater and then go outside, in the chill of winter and kill the pool pump. Right, as if that’s ever gonna happen…
The irony is that in most cases the power is already off, which results in a non-functioning television set. This implies that a very important call to action is lost to half the population in our metropolitan areas. Even the kids are getting confused as LOL now refers to “Lots of Load shedding”. I reckon we should call it load sharing, for it’s a burden all South Africans carry together.
But there are certain benefits in having load shedding.
- Parents can incorporate this in their arsenal of discipline. “Johnny, if you’re going to be a good boy, we might just decide to keep your light on tonight.”
- It forces South Africans to braai even more. In the words of William Wallace, “For they can take our electricity but they will never take our braai!!” Making a fire serves a dual purpose of providing heat and light. It also gives us food and another opportunity to invite mates and drink beer.
- Having to sit by candle light provides a romantic atmosphere without the husband having to make an effort.
- Someone said that a cold shower in the middle of winter is very good for your skin. Unfortunately that someone was shot as soon as he said it.
- Not having any operational electronic equipment implies that teenagers are force to join the rest of the family and have an actual human conversation, albeit only after their batteries have died on them.
- Being in a pitch black room will allow ugly people to have sex too.
- And last but not least, not having power allows South Africans to truly appreciate those rare moments when the lights actually does work.
Thank you Escom. We know that load shedding isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon, but in the mean time we need to make the best of it. And the best way would be to add a bucket full of humour. As long as we can get everyone on board to do their little bit at preserving energy, then maybe, just maybe that light at the end of the tunnel wouldn’t be switched off permanently.
Provided that it doesn’t get stolen first.