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Lights Out…Indefinitely

Setting the scene: I’m sitting there with my roommate, we’re making dinner, enjoying our meal, laughing, enjoying life until all of a sudden the power goes out. No electricity is working in our rooms or the rooms of anyone else–and the only thing that we can use to get around are the flashlights on our phones. At first we thought, “Oh this must just be a blackout, the power should come back on any minute now, right?”


What we had just experienced in that episode was our first encounter with load-shedding. What is load-shedding you may ask? I will tell you dear friend:

Load-shedding [noun]: The process in which the primary provider of electricity in South Africa systematically shuts off all power in a timely, organized process as a result of overwhelming demand for the supply of electricity. When load-shedding occurs the power goes out for 2 and a half hours and may happen more than once a day over the course of weeks or months. Decoding the Madness

Used in sentence: “Once you load-shed you never go back because you honestly have no choice but accept it unless you want to buy a generator”

Common side effects during an episode of load-shedding include but are not limited to:

Inability to be productive in any capacity


Perpetual Confusion

Boredom with mild bouts of helplessness

When we were finally informed on what was going on and that load-shedding was in our lives for good it was up to us to get crafty in finding ways to pass the time in the dark. The first time we decided to lay out on the grass and enjoy the view of the stars and constellations while discussing the time-space continuum, our existential existence, and aliens. When it became too nerdy intense to talk about those topics on a daily basis, we began to expand our load-shedding interests to include playing “Heads Up”.

Even though the lights come back on eventually and the loss of time can be an inconvenience– especially when you’ve made plans for super productivity (i.e. washing laundry, doing homework, making dinner etc.)– load-shedding has taught me a valuable lesson. I have learned that every day needs a little time taken aside where you have the opportunity to truly do absolutely nothing, and be completely free of the distractions from the outside world, computers, cellphones, or Wifi. In this time, I have found new appreciation in the simple things in life and have officially gotten over my fear of the dark–by force, not choice.

*Night vision is not actually a side-effect, but it would be SO useful if it were

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