In South Africa, load shedding – where the electricity utility Eskom, cuts power to a multitude of areas regularly – has become the norm. Fingers are pointed, blame is laid at the feet of many, from the previous government to the current one, to CEOs, management, and even political parties. It has dire individual and collective consequences, and must be addressed as a matter of social, environmental and economic urgency.
However, other than saving as much electricity as I can, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Today, my home area was ‘shed’ for four hours. I had prepared: downloaded a new Kindle book earlier, and poured a flask of boiling water when the alarm I had set went off 5 minutes before lights out. Now that the lights are back – and the internet – it’s quite intriguing to look back over what else I was able to shed – and gain – in those four hours. I shed any sense of a need to turn on my computer to download emails, or work. I gained silence: not even the whir of a refrigerator motor. I gained space to read a book. I shed the fretting over a proposal on which I’m working. I shed the need to interact with anyone. I gained a quiet, stress-free, peaceful space in one day.
Load-shedding must be addressed urgently for the wellbeing of South Africa. In the meantime, I’m going to use the opportunity to shed all the loads that I can.