#Poetrychallenge – The anomaly


The anomaly

of load shedding, or is it

really life shedding,

those with the means, can exit;

but what of those who must stay?

by Robbie Cheadle

In South Africa, we are experiencing load shedding which entails switching off the electricity to various areas throughout the country on a rotational basis during a 24 hour period for four hour intervals. Depending on how bad the power shortage is on a day, the load shedding could be for 1 four hour interval in a day or two or even three. The load shedding is assessed on a daily basis and the level adjusted between stages 1 to 8. This is crippling the South African economy as how do you run businesses in a modern world without power? Generators and batteries only help to an extent and batteries have to be recharged which takes longer than the intervals between some of the load shedding cycles.

This poem speaks to this crisis.

This poem is for Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge which is the Poet’s Choice this week. You can join in here: https://colleenchesebro.com/2020/01/07/colleens-2020-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-159-poetschoice/

Colleen and H.R.R. Gorman have put together a book of the winners of each weeks poetry challenge which you can download for free here: https://colleenchesebro.com/2020/01/09/update-to-the-2019-poet-of-the-week-compilation/ [I have a poem in here and so do many of our wonderful poetry blogging friends].

55 thoughts on “#Poetrychallenge – The anomaly

  1. Your poem shows the pain of this load shedding.
    Never heard of this method before and can well understand how impossible it would be to run a country this way.
    If it is to save the environment there are many other ways to get power from natural sources.

    Feeling for you u and you ur beautiful country


    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Danny, there are a number of reasons including corruption, mismanagement of funds, lack of maintenance and a lack of planning regarding increased power usage. We are now stuck with a huge problem which has been gradually escalating since 2008. Its been 12 years and no proper remediating steps have been taken so now we will reap what has been sowed and that is no power and on-going black outs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Terrible. I had no idea things were so bad. I’m still writing a story where some of it happens in South Africa.
        Perhaps I can use this.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Perhaps. I laughed when Greg said that if Trump starts WWIII and the Iranians respond with a cyber attack. I said it won’t effect us because our computers will be off for load shedding [smile]. Seriously though, it is very serious.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. We are fortunate, ladies, we can afford to have a generator so it makes not difference to us except when the cell phone towers fail. This happens when the battery back ups run out and can’t be recharged because the time in between black outs is to short for the batteries to recharge. We have fibre WiFi so that doesn’t go off during black outs.


    1. It happens when the power provider does not have enough power to supply the country. It is to prevent the grid from failing. We have had problems since 2008, but the issues have not been addressed and the frequency of load shedding has increased. We had three periods of three weeks of intense load shedding last year which is immeasurably damaging to our economy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A deeply troubling situation.. Indeed highlighting just how our modern day world exists and cannot function without power..
    I had no idea Robbie this was happening in S.A.
    What are your main sources of generating electricity?
    Here in the UK we are seeing more and more Solar panels on roofs and even whole fields filled with solar panels not to mention Wind Turbines..
    I hope this situation soon sorts itself out..

    Your poems verse showing how it affects those who have no choice in the matter..

    Wishing you a peaceful weekend Robbie and hopefully not too many blackouts.. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great response to this huge problem, Robbie!
      Loadshedding caught me completely by surprise on Sunday, then someone explained to me that the guy that switches off the power at Eskom was just back to work. (I expect you’ve heard that one).

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Sue, you cannot function in a modern society or business environment without reliable power. We are expecting more load shedding next week when big business is due to restart for 2020. It is a crisis. I am currently living day-to-day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Robbie, I had no idea South Africa was going through this and what a difficult situation for all. What a nightmare of uncertainty. In your poem you mention exit – are a lot of people with the means and opportunity of leaving the country? How is the economy, health system etc faring? Is there an end in sight?

    Your poem highlights the dichotomy perfectly.

    Congratulations of the inclusion of your work in the anthologies – I’m off to take a closer look.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Annika. Yes, a lot of people with education and means are leaving. My own boys are gearing up to leave as soon as they finish school and are likely to do their tertiary education in the UK. I would prefer my son to finish his remaining two years of school here, but I live from day to day. I am not prepared to live in the dark like a mole.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve had similar dystopic worries about the power outages here in California. In our case, the electric companies and the government are probably causing the problems but it doesn’t help us peons to know that. I need a generator.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought the power issues in California were because of the fire risk. A generator is great for short term issues. Running an entire country using generators is another matter entirely. Thanks, Jacqui


  5. Here in California, strong winds that were the cause of deadly fires two years ago have led to parts of the state shutting down electricity as a preventative measure…it reminds us not to rely on electricity for everything in life…and plan accordingly…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you are right about that, John. We have a generator at home. The big problem here is that this is a long-term problem and not crisis management. It is impacting heavily on industry and the big power uses in manufacturing and mining.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. In the summer here it is called “brown outs” which are not as severe as your black outs. So much of the world is confronting problems that others put off on the next generations. I weep for the great division between those “with the means” who can exit and those who have no choice but to stay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is the poverty cycle, Elizabeth. Older people are also trapped, of course. I chatted to a friend of mine who originates from Zimbabwe yesterday. She visited some family members that still live there over Christmas. There is no power or water. People must buy their water and food and it is very expensive. Most people are living on two meals a day and one of those is bread and tea.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Norah, the cause is corruption, misuse of funds, lack of maintenance and lack of planning. South Africa is now in a crisis and a lot of the more educated and more well-off people are immigrating. There are a lot of people who can’t leave as they don’t have the credentials or are to old. It is a disaster and I hope they sort it out over the next few months. It is unlikely though as it has been gradually worsening for the past 12 years and now it may be to late.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh Robbie, that is so sad. It must be distressing for you. I knew there were some issues. I didn’t realise it had gone this far. We don’t hear much of South Africa over here. We should. There are terrible things everywhere. We must do what we can to ensure our contributions are positive. Thank you for yours.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Overpopulation is a problem, Liz. To few resources for to many people, especially in developing countries. Unfortunately, things like these power outages cause our talented youth to leave, creating even more of a “brain drain”.


  7. Gosh! A wonderful poem, about a very sad situation. Here for electricity we are paying the most inside whole Europe, even the electricity stock exchange says different. And in Germany we have the most IT-analphabets too. However, there are sad things everywhere, and growing. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Why is this happening in this day and age? I don’t know if I could get used to something like that. I’m sorry you’re suffering through this, Robbie. I hope it doesn’t last long. You wrote an excellent Tanka. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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