The lighter, brighter side of load-shedding

It feels like 2008 again. The year when Eskom uttered one word that struck fear into every South African’s heart. “Load-shedding.” A word that meant no electricity at the most inconvenient times which could last for two to up to 24 hours. You never knew when it would strike; it was basically electricity roulette.

The Knick animated GIF

Normal reaction to Eskom

Truth be told I knew we hadn’t seen the last of load-shedding, which honestly sounds like we have too much electricity that needs to be freed into the ether –the very opposite of the state of affairs we find ourselves in. Thankfully, I am not in university anymore where I actually need to be up all night, using my laptop in a frenzy whilst trying to complete an essay that I should have started two weeks prior.

The first load was shed (?!) last night while at my father’s house in Tamboerskloof and lasted more or less the two hours that were stated. I expected to be seething with rage. I was fully ready to launch an attack on Twitter aimed at Eskom complete with grossly insulting portmanteau (you can guess which swear word). But then, it didn’t actually suck.

Luckily it’s November, which means the sun starts to set a lot later here in Cape Town. So, my brothers (in a stroke of ingenuity I have never seen before) got out table tennis and we set it up in the road. Thus, the first Milner Road Table Tennis Tournament was underway, with the rest of the neighbours gradually joining in. The cul-de-sac came alive with people walking their dogs, skating, little babas riding their black, plastic bikes and me, drinking beer and taking pictures.

cape town

cape town


table tennis cape town

eskom table tennis

eskom table tennis

As my stepmom said, “this is what happens when you don’t have electricity.”

After it started getting dark, we all decided to play 30 Seconds. Along with the candles, my brother’s friend came up with a better way to light up the table:

  • Get 1x plastic water bottle
  • Fill it with water
  • Turn on your phone’s torch
  • Sit the water bottle (making sure it’s dry) on top of the light
  • Presto, lantern

30 Seconds was fraught with accusations, hilarious clues and bad pronunciation. All in all, a good time was had and the electricity came on before we had even finished. I maintain my stepmother and I got the worst cards ever. Case in point:


Google it.

I can in no way compare my experience to the rest of you –I especially commiserate with the UCT students (friends included), who had no power on campus and are in the midst of exams or anyone else with Monday deadlines.

For the rest of you, take heart. Prepare a little in advance, use your candles, get romantic, get literary or take to the streets. Show Eskom that they may take our electricity but they can’t take our sense of imagination.

imagination animated GIF

No electricity required