Eskom, South Africa and the dark ages
It’s two years into the future. The people of South Africa have done their best to adapt to using less and less power.
Instead of working the regular eight-hour shift, the nation’s people compromise any form of regularity, by working when the sun is up, at all times – mostly outside.
Without electricity to light up the inside of buildings, entire office blocks have been destroyed to create more space for outside trading.
Business has taken a couple of steps back – centuries’ worth, in fact.
Traders and artisans line the streets with handcrafts and home-made DIY projects. There are no baked goods though.
Bigger trade industries have completely shut down. There are no tractors, for example. There is no fuel to operate them, resulting in many people just trading amongst the rubble.
The rubble, of course, carries with it its own sort of benefit. No electricity means computers and emails and other means of digital or electronic communication have become completely useless. Leftover bits of building are used as slates for etching messages – Moses style. The post office fails to ever find its feet again.
In coastal areas such as Durban and Cape Town, people travel by ship, boat and dhow. In most cases, commuting is done by bicycle or on foot. In absolutely desperate cases, cars are used. But this is more an act of nostalgia, for a time that once was, as cars are essentially operated by foot, in similar fashion to Fred Flintstone.
Besides a complete back-pedal into the past, South Africa suffers complete chaos. The unravelling of several networks relating to trade and commerce starts to fracture an already sensitive economy, plaguing the country with even more poverty.
The “keepers of the light” – those who are supposed to lead the nation to greatness – have seen the people’s worst fears become reality. The leaders are truly the forces of darkness. They continue to fight for power, money rules all and their abuse of it knows no limits. Internal struggles and far-fetched aspirations of presiding and controlling everything have failed miserably and perpetuate these dark times.
Battles over inadequate wages and unauthorised expenditure by officials continue to drain the nation of its resources. This bleeds into everything else. Aside from the people having to make do with what little they have to survive and make their way under their own steam, little resources are left over for investing in the growth of culture, literature, arts, sport and technology. The country is at a complete standstill. Progress is a term long forgotten.
Parastatals’ actions and the lack of accountability lead to complete demise. Backward practices prevail. Little responsibility is taken, except maybe the odd empty apology married to a useless excuse, which is offered to a roaring crowd.
The darkness that once consumed only the government of the nation now quite literally starts taking its toll on the citizens against their will.
Inadequate leaders terrorise the nation with it. The effects far reaching. Not only does it infect politics, but South Africa suffers blackouts in other aspects of a modern society. Education systems fail even more. Security, policing and corruption become a free-for-all. There is no such thing as the Secrecy Bill, or the threat thereof. There is no need for one. The notion of being informed or information and having access to it at all is but a futuristic illusion.
Effectively, these terrible times give rise to the characters that are truly dark. Their neglect finally succeeding, sucking the land dry and leaving it barren for what would be years to come.