Day 475 – More than a mess

Let’s start with a quote from this tweet:

When is Cyril Ramaphosa going to define what is unfolding by its correct term? This is a counterrevolution organized from within his party to stop consolidation of a democratic state because its sponsors are terrified of a functioning state with a rule of law.

Looking at the situation in KZN, and really, really not wanting to be dramatic, I am rapidly coming round to this conclusion as well. Yes, of course we have a million problems. The unemployment rate, the poverty, the pandemic, the years of poor leadership, the corruption, the broken promises: they all made for piles and piles of dry tinder, ready to ignite. Zuma’s jailing was just the spark that set it all off.

We have protests literally every day in SA. Some are small, some are big, some have even run on for days at a time. But this one is clearly different. Not just in its sheer scale, but also in the targets of the mobs. Sure, supermarkets, shops, malls… when this sort of violence occurs, they are sadly always in the firing line. And sure, some of that can unfortunately spill over into buildings nearby. You can argue all you like about why looters aggrieved at their situation need to steal 80″ LCD TVs to demonstrate their anger: it happens every time.

But setting light to water treatment plants? Attacking 113 cellphone towers?
Ports? Chemical plants? Radio stations? Food distribution warehouses?

No.

That’s clearly orchestrated, and that’s hugely worrying. While we were all rightfully distracted by the fires and chaos right in front of us, something very sinister has been going on in the background.
Deliberate political agitation? Certainly.

It’s a mess. A long, complicated, convoluted story has brought us to this point. Many people will even disagree about where the tale begins and which route it took. Short-term, it doesn’t matter. We’re going to be faced with food shortages, even worse unemployment, possible forced migration, and probably all against a backdrop of continuing violence and increasing instability.

It’s still very early days, but if you think that tweet above is accurate, here’s an interesting take (also from twitter, but I can’t find where):

The coup failed when many provinces refused to join in. We have averted a much bigger problem than what you are seeing now. Look at how key people went missing during this critical time and emerged when a coup failed.

And yes: suddenly big names like the Premier of KZN, the Police Minister – both prominently in the Zuma faction – and a few others are speaking out. Not that there’s anything unusual in that, aside from their complete silence for the first few days of this. But why now, suddenly?

And this guy agrees:

There is a clear attempt at rendering South Africa ungovernable. To use state paralysis as a bargaining chip to achieve a political objective. Call this what it is, its an insurgency.

I’m not convinced that this is done. The embers of the KZN blazes might still land and ignite fires in other places. But for the moment, much of the rest of SA has been spared.

Keep your thoughts and prayers. Donate money here if you can and you want to help.
Stay safe, wherever you are.

UPDATE: Aaaand this:

…shared in response to this blog post.

Day 474 – Happily wet

It’s not quite 3½ years since I took these photos at Theewaterskloof Dam – or what should have been Theewaterskloof Dam, at least.

Back then, we were on the verge of Day Zero, about the be the first big city in the world to run out of water.

Today, Theewaterskloof Dam level stands at 101.1% full. That’s more full than it actually can be. How cool is that?

On the water front, at least, things are looking pretty good:

We don’t need to worry too much about the Steenbras twins, but it would be nice to see Voëlvlei join the vol vlei party (see what I did there?). Probably not, if you’re outside SA, and you’re probably better off for that.

Photos from our few days away are still being processed.
There are almost 1000 of them. It may take a while.

Day 473 – Misery everywhere

There’s no good news today.

I’m not feeling great (no, not that).

Defeat for England (although), preceded by an unpleasant frontlash and followed by a (now sadly usual) disgusting backlash.

Rain, gales, floods and cold in Cape Town. More leaks in our house.

KZN and parts of Gauteng right on the brink of… something terrible.

Copious sexual intercourse won’t cure Covid-19.

More loadshedding on the way.

And this is just the stuff I feel I can share.

I have a lot of amazing memories from a few days away, and a lot of photos to process. But today doesn’t seem the right day to do anything except just hope that things get better.

Day 469 – Blue

There’s little point in me writing an essay on any given subject while I’m away and unable to discuss my thoughts on that given subject. And so that’s why I rely mainly on short posts and quota photos*.

Like this one from September 2017.

This was an art installation called Waterlicht, in which a certain pass in the Peak District National Park in the UK was flooded with blue laser light to represent rising ocean levels and general panic. To be fair, if the sea gets there, we are going to be in a lot of trouble, given that it’s about 300m above (current) sea level.

The project hadn’t been well advertised or attended on its first two evenings. But this particular night was chaos, with 6km tailbacks and lots of walking along dark country roads with traffic everywhere. Was it worth it? Probably not.
But it was an experience.

You might think from my flippant attitude just beneath the image above that I’m some sort of climate change denier.
Not so. Obviously not. I recognise that things are changing, and not in a good way. And because it’s a gradual change, rather than one specific moment in time, it’s being overlooked by many people as far less of a problem than it actually is.
I do think that we would all be better served by less sensationalism around the subject, though. Good science is still just science. It isn’t compatible with sensationalism, and I do completely understand people’s scepticism when they have been fed ridiculous headlines of doom and gloom by celebrities and newspapers for years and years, only for those predicted timelines to be wholly unfounded.

Those individuals and publications sowed the seeds of doubt; they have made the bed upon which we now lie. And yet, science still gets the blame. Regaining the trust of the public on this subject is something that we will probably never be able to do.

* this one seems to have gone on a bit though.

Day 467 – 467

Day 467 of lockdown.

Short of inspiration and tired of life because it’s all so very bloody depressing, I decided to look up the number 467 to see if there was anything significant about it, aside from it being a prime number.

Actually, Wikipedia didn’t mention that it was a prime number, but it did have lots of exciting info about the year 467.

Year 467 (CDLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday, of the Julian calendar, the 467th Year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 467th year of the 1st millennium, the 67th year of the 5th century, and the 8th year of the 460s decade. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Pusaeus and Iohannes (or, less frequently, year 1220 Ab urbe condita).

I’m wondering how often (if ever) it was actually called year 1220 Ab urbe condita, given that I’ve never heard of the more common Year of the Consulship of Pusaeus and Iohannes.

This was interesting:

Emperor Skandagupta, ruler of the Gupta Empire, dies after a 12-year reign, as Huns consolidate their conquests in western India. He is succeeded by his half-brother Purugupta.

…if only because the current Gupta Empire also hit a bit of a rocky patch yesterday:

They were the ones who (ugh… “allegedly”) benefitted to the tune of billions and billions of Rands after their State Capture of South Africa.

Elsewhere:

Ancient Hillforts in Britain are re-fortified

They were looking a bit shabby.

And:

King Genseric extends his pirate raids in the Mediterranean Sea; the Vandals sack and enslave the people living in Illyricum, the Peloponnese and other parts of Greece.

Happy 457 days. Happy 467 day.