From the Principal’s Desk – 01 February, 2018
Following my attendance yesterday at the drought meeting for Western Cape principals called by the Premier of the province, Mrs Helen Zille, I was reminded about the South African psyche.
Certainly in my life time I have observed on numerous occasions how we as South Africans seem to love walking right up to the edge of the deep dark precipice and having a “good look at danger” before we rally and mobilise to act. I am not sure what that is all about but I do know that at some point when it seems that all is lost, we as a nation do come around and do the impossible.
We saw this when Apartheid ended in 1994 – while the world was certainly expecting us to become embroiled in a civil war with race groups tearing each other apart, we did the opposite and created the Rainbow Nation and enjoyed several years of optimism, hope, restoration and healing. We saw this in 2010 when SA hosted the Fifa World Cup – news reports for months before indicated that we would not be ready to host the world’s greatest sports extravaganza, and stadiums would not be completed, etc., and yet that World Cup is fondly remembered as one of the best in the history of Fifa. We have seen it recently with the whole State Capture saga happening in our country – with nothing but doom and gloom and reports daily of mass corruption and pillaging of state coffers, we finally have some action and are seeing our tried and tested Judicial and accountability structures waking up and doing what they were mandated to do.
I guess what I am trying to say is this. Yes, the drought is serious and the situation is less than pleasant or perfect, but it is important to step up to the plate and do what we do best – and that is to bounce back from a crisis, learn the lessons and ensure we survive. That is the essence of what I believe it means to be truly South African – the “ubuntu” spirit referred to by so many.
We can push DAY ZERO back if EVERYONE commits to using the allocated 50 litres of water per person per day for the next 150 days. It may be uncomfortable and inconvenient but I can assure you the alternatives for when the taps run dry are a great deal worse.
So I ask that we as a school community do everything we can to be an example to each other and those around us in our community. To not add panic and undue stress to an already challenging situation, and to remain optimistic and see the glass half full (apologies for the metaphor) during this time because the reality remains that although this may last for 3 months or so, we will move through it.
I close by sharing this very encouraging Facebook post dated 20 January from a man named Steven Underwood in Gaborone who went through a Day Zero scenario and helps us keep some perspective as we galvanize and deal with what lies ahead. Let us show the world what our Rainbow Nation can do with this looming crisis:
“As Cape Town hits level 6b water restrictions, I thought I would share a few observations from my time in drought affected Gaborone, where we reached Day Zero (empty taps) many times during my 4 years there:
1) You will not die.
2) Yes, you will suffer a little but what’s wrong with a little suffering? It builds character.
3) Businesses and schools will not shut down (as some suggest) but will have to adapt to using grey water for ablutions. It’s a mind-set change, don’t give up, persevere and keep adding value to the economy (not to minimise the plight of businesses that need fresh water for their product, they will really struggle)
4) Water is a renewable resource and therefore 25 litres goes a long way. Water for washing can be caught and reused for ablutions. It’s not very nice (see point 2) but once again it’s a mindset.
5) It’s not the ANC/DA’S fault nor climate change. It’s my fault because I use too much water (i.e. more than supply), which is great because I don’t have to rely on government or scientists to fix it, I just have to use less water.
6) Help will come in some form. Businesses will spring up delivering water (in Gabs it was 2 JoJo tanks on a flatbed truck), desalination boats will flock to our harbours (if they don’t exist then, then a millionaire genius will quickly invent and build one). Water may even come from the sky but somehow we will change the game for the better.
7) You will learn to appreciate water and take joy in the little things. One time, while driving to visit a friend in Phikwe, the heavens opened on a road just past Palapye. The driver in front of me pulled to the side of the road and started dancing in the rain, what a beautiful feeling.
8) Stay positive. With the right mind-set, the water crisis can actually be fun. You will spend more time outdoors, you will connect with your neighbours, you will receive help and help others, you will waste less time on Facebook/TV and you will have great stories to tell.
9) It could be worse. Water crisis is far better than being subjected to apartheid (like what happened to my brothers and sisters) or fighting a war (like what happened to my Grandparents), we will come through it stronger and better.”