OP-ED Opinions 

News24.com | OPINION: Why Melbourne’s weather is the key to surviving load shedding

2019-10-16 18:00

Over the last few weeks, I have had the sense that the pendulum of emotion has swung from extreme negativity to intentional and deliberate positivity. But that was before load shedding, writes Howard Feldman.

In order to emotionally survive South Africa, it is
imperative to acquire some survival skills. At 06:00 on Wednesday morning, it
would have been impossible for most of us to predict that in just a few hours,
load shedding (stage 2) would be back.

But it is. City Power broke the news on Twitter without
fanfare. As though this was the most normal announcement in the world.

When bad news hits us, we all react in different ways. Some
Twitter users, in disbelief and classic denial, suggested that the City Power account
had been hacked. Others became very angry, while a few, so beaten by the
system, accepted the information with tired and worn sadness.

My reaction might be slightly extreme. But it is a tried and
tested system that never fails me. I check the weather in Melbourne, Australia.
I don’t do this because I have any intention of going to live there. I have
never even been.

READ | A dummy’s guide to load shedding

I do this because the inevitably poor and miserable forecast
somehow proves to me that nowhere in the world everything is perfect. And
whereas this wisdom might be something that we all know in theory, when Eskom
starts its load shedding horror, I find that I need all the help that I can
get. Even if it means resorting to this bizarre strategy.

Incidentally, the weather in Melbourne is as follows: today
is 18°C
maximum with rain, tomorrow has a high of 16°C with rain and Saturday
reaches a maximum of 14°C with showers. It’s meant to be summer, just as South
Africa now finds itself in the warmer season. I suggest that you save that in
your phone and make sure that this is the very last thing you read when the
battery on your mobile gasps for breath and finally dies, with no hope of any
electricity to charge it.

It’s simple and effective. And you will thank me for it.

Over the last few weeks, I have had the sense that the
pendulum of emotion has swung from extreme negativity to intentional and
deliberate positivity. Facebook groups like #ImStaying have exploded in
popularity, indicating that South Africans have had enough of being miserable. There
has been a sense that we have collectively decided to “push back” and
to silence the many critics not only in our own country but also those around
the world.

But that was before load shedding.

As a positivity “coach” I have often been asked if
it is possible to smile in the dark? Load shedding is without a doubt one of
the most significant factors that influences our national psyche. It is the one
area where we don’t feel that we are all “in the this together”
primarily because we don’t trust Eskom or government. And we (rightfully) blame
them for the situation.

This said, it still won’t serve us and our families to delve
back into the misery and depression that we have fought so hard to counter.
Load shedding has ended before, and it will end again. It will pass as it has
done. Of course we need to hold those responsible for the situation, but we
need to not allow ourselves to fall into a hole that we cannot climb out of.

Even if it means constantly checking on the weather in
Melbourne Australia.

Where it’s raining. Shame.

– Howard Feldman is a keynote speaker and analyst. He is the author of three books and is the morning talk show host on ChaiFM.

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