South Africa is a funny country; no, not a strange country, a really funny country. To see this, you only have to look at load shedding in South Africa.
Load Shedding in South Africa 101
Load shedding in South Africa has nothing to do with the fact that we need to leave the ‘pap en vleis‘ and start using those gym memberships we buy so religiously every September. When you hear about load shedding in South Africa, it means that you have to check that there are candles in the drawer and that you serve something for dinner that doesn’t need any cooking – unless of course you have a gas stove – oops, did you forget to refill the gas bottle again?
Load shedding is the system by which the electricity supplier cuts power in 2 1/2 hour blocks to different areas. There are different stages, depending on the shortage being experienced by the supplier. In stage 1 you will probably only be without electricity for one 2 1/2 hour session that day. On stage 4 (which thankfully hadn’t happened yet and we hope it never will) you can be without electricity for a total of up to 10 hours a day. No matter what you do or say, whether you pay your bill or not, whether you have a business or a household with a baby, when it’s your turn for load shedding, you had better be prepared.
ESKOM is South Africa’s only electricity supplier and even though the rise in electricity prices is more regular than the auntie who eats two tubs of Activia yoghurt every day, they encourage South Africans not to use electricity. The reason for this is no joke.
South Africa’s resources are dwindling and although a blind man with a stick can see that sustainable energy is the way to go, somewhere someone in a corner office is making too much money off supplying coal to the power plants. Nobody seems willing to really make an effort to make solar power (or any other form of sustainable energy for that matter) readily available to the South African public. Although one can have solar energy installed, it’s so ridiculously expensive that very few can afford it.
It’s easier to ‘loadshed’ and invest money in maintaining power stations that are draining our resources and destroying our environment than to make a plan to get solar panels on every house and let that solar power feed in to the grid. Shame on you, person in the corner office!
Keeping your humour even during load shedding
As I have written before, nothing can dampen a South African’s spirit. We light our candles and have a romantic dinner instead of watching Isidingo. We sit around in the office telling load shedding jokes and making up memes about ESKOM until the power comes on and we can work again.
We may not always have electricity and the person in the corner office may think they have us trapped with their coal power stations but one thing they will never take from us, is our ability to laugh – even at the person in the corner office.
For a last laugh, let’s listen to Whackhead Simpson as he almost drives a South African electricity consumer to tears. (No, not because of load shedding in South Africa!)