Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

For a few months after electricity was installed in the small village in rural Ireland where my aunt lived, I noticed how she would press the light switch tentatively, not really believing anything would happen. She didn’t seem to mind one way or another whether light poured forth; electricity was still part-luxury, part-miracle, not the necessity it quickly became. Last week, almost 50 years later, I was reminded of watching my aunt as I went to switch on my bedroom light — tentatively. This is what Eskom has reduced us to. Within hours of the latest spate of "load-shedding" I had heard all manner of conspiracy theories explaining the "real" reason behind the latest assault on our democracy. Like the majority of South Africans, I have no idea why the lights sometimes don’t work; and I’m now almost as puzzled by the times they do work. Obviously, it’s a killer combination of corruption and mismanagement, but how much of each? It’s likely only a few know the answer with any real prec...

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