The Power Is Out, Again…

Tatiana Redden University of Cape Town, South Africa


August 18, 2015

Me: Brittney!

Brittney: Yes?

Me: Why are the lights off? (I yell from the shower)

Brittney: It’s load shedding…. We have to wait two hours before they come back on.

Me: Great….

I was in the shower just as the power went out, lucky me right? I’m thinking I’ll just continue until the power comes back on. A few moments later, the water gets very cold so I hop out and walk into our dark room that is now cold because our heaters are turned off. I ask my roommate, why didn’t they fix the power outage yet. She responds, “Its load shedding so they can’t. Our district is out” I’m surprised and annoyed because its half past seven and so the sun is down. So the lights are out all over the neighborhood?

This all truly started on a Thursday night. My roommate and I decided we wanted to crack down on the books because the readings for our classes are very heavy and we wanted to catch up on our work. So we decided from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm we could watch our TV shows and then start work at 7:30 pm. After I watched my favorite shows, I decided to brush my teeth and take a shower before our work session so I could just go to bed after I finished my readings… well that plan obviously failed.

Now, I did know that sometimes our power goes out. We were told load shedding happens rarely and fast. For the house, it would make sense for the power to go out because there are 28 students living in one house. We all use power around the same time, so sometimes power goes out and it’s fixed within ten minutes or so. This time that wasn’t the case.

So for about an hour I am complaining about how I could have gotten work done, but because we cannot see, I cannot do my work. So I am asking my roommate, Brittney did she understand why the load shedding happened anyway. From what I understand, it’s a way to preserve energy so that it does not run out. About once or twice a month a different area has its power turned off. I sit on my cold bed, as she explains this to me. I began to think that I could not live in a place that randomly did not have power. It just seemed too different for me. Then we starting talking about how it’s not the different or out of the norm, if South Africans have been doing it for years. We started to see the other side of the story. One of my professors always says, “It’s not bad, it’s different.” So while I may never get used to not having power for two hours. I can at least understand why it happens. Maybe the next time I won’t be in the shower when it happens.


Semester South Africa