Residents in South Africa have become increasingly resigned to their fate as what was a seemingly one off occurrence is becoming a daily fixture in their lives. The sounds of energy powered appliances give little comfort these days with the increasing somewhat normalized blackouts.
In recent weeks, the rolling blackouts have kept Africa’s most advanced economy in the dark. As the national grid struggles, the blackouts though scheduled and limited, affect different areas and at different times in a show of perceived stability. The term coined to explain the blackouts is “load shedding”.
According to Eskom’s official explanation, Load shedding, or load reduction, is done nationwide as a controlled attempt to respond to unforeseen events to protect the electric power system from a total blackout. Load shedding has been part of South African life since 2014.
While some stocked their homes with rechargeable appliances to cope with the blackouts, others have had to close their businesses which are power dependent.
The public has kept mum in response to the collapse of the state-owned power utility. The rich are seemingly unperturbed by the unfortunate turn of events, resorting to making light of it on social media. Only a handful of groups, mostly the “poor” have as much as bat an eyelid. Last year, South Africa witnessed 237 protests from the most affected group, 64 more than the previous year, an increase likely spurred by the coming election.
Come May 8th, President Cyril Ramaphosa is convinced that load shedding won’t cost him. The confidence albeit stemmed from the muted response of the public. Away from the elections, the risk of a total blackout is looming, worse still, an advent might be considered normal.