I understand that we are a nation with a power crisis right now and that it is somewhat beyond your current control – but two days of six to nine hours of load shedding has certainly taken its toll on the residents of Kenilworth, Cape Town – both above and below the station, mind you. While it is certainly not the most poverty-stricken area, there’s a measure of suffering beyond belief being experienced by the working – to middle- to upper-class residents of the area.
The prostitutes on the corner of Pine and Main are clinging loyally to their streetlights but are no longer visible. Business has not suffered of course. If anything, it seems better as tons of Hondas and Toyotas stream in at night to get down to business in the newly darkened landscape. But, in all seriousness, I worry even more about how safe these women and their lazy pimps are – even during rush hour.
Similarly, Banana Jam has had to revert to a load-shedding menu, which is quite a good business tactic considering, but the menu itself lacks the mussel pots I’m so fond of.
The traffic between the Noyes and the 7-Eleven is even worse and the store was robbed at gunpoint not even three months ago. I am very fond of the family who owns that store. Their son also went to Wynberg High and the aunty often gives us free things. It’s also the only place that O’Neil can easily get beer after hours (this may or may not be true depending on who is reading this).
The lady next door, who usually spends her evenings screaming for her dog Badger (in a ways that’s loving but also nerve-grating) has now reverted to screaming at the builders erecting a block of flats next door because they are now having to work in the evenings when the power is back on. Last night she threatened to call the authorities and must have made good on it because someone with flickery lights just hooted at the gate for about an hour.
Security without power
Of course ADT would be our usual go-to liaisons when it comes to laying down the law, but some dudes on a bike in the middle of the darkness somehow seem less powerful and effective than the ones who happily ring their bells to say hello when the power is on. They’re also tired as there is no hot water for their coffee, but they are still smoking just as much pot and seem like a nap would really just be the best thing for them.
My Aunty Mary has taken to sitting outside in the dark and gives me horrible frights every time I go to check on why the door is open. The nights are growing colder and sometimes my laptop runs out of battery. My son is actively concerned that he will have to do things, like talk to me, as opposed to watching Slugterra and his acting out has taken its toll. In fact, just last night he took a bottle of Lucazade, put it to his mouth (staring me dead in the eyes) and pretended to drink it before I literally chased him to bed.
At this point, and given that you have the monopoly on electric power in this country, I’d appreciate it if you could purchase a generator for our street and some of those nice solar-powered lights for the illegal sex-work syndicate up the road. Or maybe consider starting a helpline where people can get emergency electricity. Also for people who have electrically run gear that helps them stay alive, could you get them all a house in one area so no one dies? I would like you to know that I am being dead serious.
On the plus side, thank you for providing me with reasons to read my book by torchlight. The main character still hasn’t found his wife but there’s recently been a bit of a twist that I’m enjoying and I’m just about halfway through. When I’m done I hear they have made a movie adaptation of it. I think Affleck plays Nick. I’d love to watch that – you know, if you’re okay with it.
Also, given that you face no competition for providing grid electricity and no reason to listen to me whatsoever, I thank you in advance for taking this letter very seriously.
Love Kerry Contrary
A version of this blog post was originally published on Kerry Contrary.