South African Bureaucracy Driving You Nuts

Back in America, where the trash gets picked up with unflinching regularity, where I can bank on every traffic light working like a charm each morning on the way to school, and where I can start and stop utility service with just a single phone call if I so desire, I chuckle with utter delight when reading about the misadventures of yet another American expat in South Africa.


Load-Shitting, Excuse me, Shedding


It’s the word on every South African’s lips these days.

(For my non-South African readers: no, this has nothing to do with going to the toilet and getting rid of THAT load, as you might be inclined to deduce from the title of this post or the word itself or even from the fact ... 


I’m Having an Affair

Yes, I have an affair. It started shortly after moving to South Africa. It wasn’t all that secret, to be honest, but it was very time consuming. I mostly conducted it over the phone, except for one not-so-clandestine encounter. Then I thought I ended it last July. 190 long days of not talking ... 


The Medupi Power Station

Medupi Power Station

Following my previous post about energy, where I somewhat romanticized the notion of poverty and low energy usage in South Africa, I thought I should be honest and show the entire picture.

South Africa, you see, is building the world’s largest dry-cooled coal-fired power plant. When completed, ... 


My Truce with Eskom

Here I thought I had finally come to a sort of unspoken agreement with Eskom (our electricity provider here in South Africa): Every once in a while I’d call my new friend there, Mr. Smith (I am not kidding, that’s his actual name; come to think of it, maybe it is just what he wants me ... 


Eskom: Absolute Power to Turn Off Your Power Whenever They so Choose

I’m actually shaking with rage as I’m writing this. My South African friends will no doubt laugh and shrug their shoulders and tell me “Welcome to Africa.” Noisette tells me that at least it makes for another good story, and he’s quite right. I’m grateful to you, who are reading my blog, for letting me vent for the next ten minutes, otherwise I think I might explode.

Eskom came and turned our power off today. In broad daylight. I wouldn’t even have known but for Sibu’s (our domestic help) quick thinking, who spotted a security guard in our driveway and went to find out what was going on.

What was going on was that there were two people from Eskom, escorted ...