"Heart Of Darkness"

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said "Let there be light"; and there was light" (Genesis 1:1-3).

Since the dawn of time the concept of ‘light’ has been ever present. Whether it is at the end of the proverbial tunnel or simply to ‘illuminate’ the dark, this energy, better known as electricity, has allowed the human race to technologically evolve further and quicker than anticipated.

Consequently, over time, humans have arguably developed a symbiotic relationship with electricity or, better yet, with the companies which just so happen to supply electrical energy. Thus, without people who pay their bills, power stations cannot be maintained or built to accommodate future growth. Well, as it often is in Africa, commonly accepted ideologies are never taken for granted.

Like most upstanding citizens of society, we pay our bills for ‘needed’ services such as ‘water’ and ‘electricity’. However, if you just so happen to be a "Previously Disadvantaged" individual then all of your utilities are paid for by, well, everyone else. This is not because the "Previously Disadvantaged" are incapable of supporting themselves; it is merely because they are obviously owed these necessities due to the ‘atrocities’ of the past which can evidently not be forgotten. Anyway, the fact of the matter remains, that in this day and age, many South Africans are finding themselves increasingly without electricity. This is not, however, because of some bizarre environmental effect caused by global warming, such as the El Niño anomaly, instead, and rather anticlimactically, it is due to a lack of forethought.

In layman’s terms, the government botched up the electrical system by, over the years, failing to maintain the current power grid and neglecting to build additional power supplies for the continuously growing population/economy. As a result, South Africans must now accommodate hours of ‘Load Shedding’ into their daily lives. ‘Load Shedding’, as Louisa puts it, "is the local euphemism for more or less scheduled power outages" (Louisa Bouwer 2008). Consequently, it is rare to live through a day which has not been undesirably effected by several hours of scheduled ‘Load Shedding’. Not only has ‘Load Shedding’ strained public patience but it has now officially begun to negatively affect South Africa’s already fragile economy. However, the criminals are just loving the ‘Load Shedding’ scheme with electricity deprived suburbs being ‘hit’ more frequently and violently over the last few months.

Although Eskom (South Africa’s one and only provider of electricity) claims almost everyday that it is nearing its full capacity and thus ‘Load Shedding’ must begin, it is important to note that Eskom ‘sells’ power to Zimbabwe. How much you ask? Almost an entire power plants worth of power. As if supporting Mugabe was not bad enough, South Africans and the South African economy must now suffer the consequences of an ‘alleged‘ strain on the local power grids primarily due to, what can only be assumed to be, money (with Eskom’s CEO earning a paltry R1 Million a month, it is not surprising that he may need more – the rich get richer and the rest… live without power). Furthermore, it has been projected that power outages will become lengthier and more frequent as the winter months approach. Hence forcing the local population, well those who can afford it anyway, and businesses to invest in generators, better known as genny’s (Freddy Labutte 2008). Goodness knows that we are getting one installed.

I suppose life could be worse in South Africa, but the fact of the matter remains that in the 21st century problems like this should not occur.

– Hans

2 thoughts on “"Heart Of Darkness"

  • Hahaha…I can\’t believe you actually quoted me! Thanks for the link Hans. :-DIt\’s very tragic to see how it all falls to pieces, isn\’t it? It\’s like watching a car crash but being unable to do a thing to stop it. I\’ll put money it that we will look back fondly at this time of semi-scheduled two hour outages when winter rolls by, and not just this year either because the fact is that even now that everyone is willing and determined to sort out the problem and to do much needed upgrades to the power grid and supply, it\’s simply too late – and not the kind of problem that can be resolved by working more hours or snapping your fingers in a "I want this sorted out NOW!!!" kind of way. It takes yeeeeeeears to build a power station. There are still many dark days ahead, but the silver lining is of course that like any other disaster this has given SA jokes a fresh burst of inspiration and has created plenty of material for stand up comedians who are at least able to apply their trade by candle light. We must not loose our sense of humor in times like these, it\’s the South-African way… 😉

  • The darkness is looming over us, it is frightening that we are now in this position in this day and age but as it is mildly put in my office \’Welcome to Africa\’!!! *sigh* But as Louisa puts it, we should keep up the humour as South Africans tend to do because there\’s nothing else we can do!
    So, when do you get your genny?

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