Take a Break

2008-02-03 00:00

So much has been said about daylight savings time (DST) that one has to wonder what stops clocks from being advanced by one hour.

With electricity outages forecast for the next few years, one would have hoped for a lightbulb moment and that the powers that be would endorse DST, even on a voluntary basis.

Ok, so DST might come as summer heads for winter, but it’s better late than never.

Perhaps we should go a step further and look at introducing a one-hour, even two-hour, time zone differential between the east and west coasts.

The facts speak for themselves — in summer, the sun rises at about 5 am on the KZN coast and admittedly later in winter, but nevertheless earlier than anywhere further west.

Logically it means that we are unable to maximise our daylight and that people who start work at say 9 am, have effectively wasted four hours.

Conversely, it means we only have a couple of hours after work to enjoy daylight, unlike Cape Town where the sun sets after 8 pm!

Imagine Johannesburg and Gauteng either 30 minutes or an hour later than Durban and earlier than Cape Town, and time zones start to make sense.

Of course there are serious practical considerations, but that shouldn’t stop the debate about possible different time zones for South Africa. Foreign as the notion is here, different time zones are the norm in other countries.

As a bonus, different time zones will distribute the peak demand period for electricity over several hours, which surely must spark some interest.

Nuclear confusion

The energy crisis is spawning all sorts of conspiracy theories, some from people who should be immune.

One theory goes that the outages are deliberately orchestrated to strengthen the hand of the nuclear lobby, and its vested interests in power generation.

We believe that to credit the powers that be with a conspiracy theory is far too great a compliment under the chaotic circumstances.

Catch a wake-up

If only some of the city’s motorists would stop driving as if they’re in Howick, and drive sensibly, traffic would flow much better.

Imagine an intersection with two lanes in all four directions carrying vehicles in all directions. Now, why is it that people don’t turn right across the intersection when they clearly see an approaching car turning left, but rather wait? Caution is good, but not watching and anticipating traffic is inconsiderate and an annoyance to other road users.

Gateway to fashion

Once in a while, people do something stand-out clever. The Gateway School of Fashion that teaches young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the basics of fashion and design is an example of what we’re talking about.

Firstly, it fits under the tried and tested umbrella of Gateway Project with its institutional infrastructure, support and mentorship. Secondly, it has a progressive funding partner in British-based Hope HiV, and thirdly, it draws on the creative energy of fashion icon Karen Millen.

Separately, these entities have achieved great things, and judging by the dedication of the various role players, including course designer Sheelagh Wright, director of studies at the University College for the Creative Arts in Rochester, there’s a great willingness to make the project work as a team.

Particularly pleasing is that the project fits into what is already in existence and does not re-invent the wheel.

It offers foundation skills as an entre to further learning in what is a yawning gap between the hopes of a disadvantaged youth, and dreams of international stardom.

No contest

We were amused to read that the respondents to veteran anti-apartheid activist John Minto’s rebuke did not contradict his reason for turning down the Order of the Companion of O.R. Tambo.

Minto railed against several wrongs, including reverse discrimination, and black elite millionaires, and indirectly equated ANC policies to a crime against humanity, like apartheid was.

None of his contentions was addressed, not even dismissed, as the spin doctors chose to focus on whether he was nominated in the first place.

Black humour

South Africa’s energy woes are not funny, and that’s official. Eskom apparently ordered a black-out on all e-mail poking fun at the power utility in a strongly-worded circular to employees.

No jokes.

derekalberts@mweb.co.za

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