Howard Feldman

OPINION: Why Melbourne's weather is the key to surviving load shedding

2019-10-16 18:00

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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.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    eskom  |  load shedding
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