Stop worrying about radioactive water

2008-02-11 00:00

For old time survivalists like myself and my friends, the collapse of Eskom and the contamination of the water system are not crises, but merely problems to be solved.

We owe this devil-may-care attitude to our former occupation of not-quite-abandoned brick houses in Impendle village, way back in the seventies. At that time most of us were Natal or Tech academics based in Durban and Impendle offered the blessed opportunity of a weekend retreat.

The houses we rented for a handful of small change belonged to the Department of Justice and had been built in 1880. Toilets were (how can I put this tastefully?) detached from the main building and had tiny views of the surrounding country visible though a crescent-shaped slit cut artfully in what had once been a door. There was no plumbing and the only sounds apart from those emitted from time to time by the occupant came from wasps or maybe hornets.

For light, we used a little Honda generator, while water bubbled serenely from a lonely standpipe in the asparagus patch, diverted from a mountain spring. We heated this once a day in a Rhodesian boiler made of a 44-gallon drum fuelled by wattle sticks. It was frightfully rural and quite excessively William Morris.

But now, thanks to the long-delayed arrival of freedom in 1994, we have similar facilities on the Berea, in Durban.

Rumour, that cross-eyed bitch, tells us that Eskom, a high-Romantic organisation located in the halcyon past, cannot cope with the immediate present. This means that radio-controlled devices run by the Metro will limit the electricity available to your geyser. And if that isn’t bad enough, the rivers are full of shit and nameless red stuff. To make things even worse, radioactive ground water has been located in what used to be called the Transvaal.

Well, like I said at the beginning of this piece, these are not crises, but interesting problems to be solved. We begin with the dangerous untruths about radioactive water. If this is true, which is unlikely, it is very good news indeed. For a start, the radioactivity in the water will cause the microscopic E. coli bacteria to mutate. Mutation, for the one or two dogged Creationists reading this, is a high-speed evolutionary process. In the case of the local E. coli, they will — in the winking of an eye — become truly huge, about the size of a Smartie or maybe a chocolate raisin. As a result, removal of them from the water will be a simple matter of tweezers and good eye-hand co-ordination.

But that’s not all. Radioactive water has another benefit for post-freedom South Africans. Radioactivity provides its own heat. Of course lots of this heat presents problems — just ask the survivors of Chernobyl if you can find any. However, in smallish quantities of the kind that may be flowing through the Vaal, all this means is that the water will be bathroom hot and ready to go. Who needs geysers in a time like this? Brothers and sisters, the only thing to fear is fear itself, as the chicken in every pot cooks itself in free radioactive water. The only remaining problem is converting the Rhodesian boiler to run in reverse, so that it becomes a wattle-powered refrigerator. Stay tuned.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.