People queue to collect natural spring water from the Brewery spring in Newlands. Picture: Athina May.
People queue to collect natural spring water from the Brewery spring in Newlands. Picture: Athina May.

'#WaterCrisis? We've been doing this our whole lives'

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jan 25, 2018

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Cape Town - While most Capetonians are in full panic mode over the #WaterCrisis and #DayZero, now set at April 12, the South African Twittersphere had a lot to say about "how normal what Cape Town is going through for many South Africans".

Day Zero is when most of the city's taps will be shut off and residents will have to queue for their daily ration of 25 litres of water per day. But in a bid to stave off what seems inevitable, on February 1 the City of Cape Town will implement Level 6b water restrictions, where residents are encouraged to only use 50 litres of water a day.

Social media has been flooded with tips on how to do this, but there were also tweets about how people in South Africa have been and currently are living without ready and easy access to water.

Author and blogger Khaya Dlanga fired off "a little thread about water and how normal what Cape Town is going through for many South Africans".

A little thread about water and how normal what Cape Town is going through for many South Africans.

Being born here and growing up, we conserved water without knowing that’s what we were doing. You had to save it. First of all getting it was a mission. And still is for many. pic.twitter.com/zQcipgwnWu

— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) January 24, 2018

I used to wash my face, wash my armpits, brush my teeth and wash my hands with a single cup of water like this. I used to watch my grandfather stand in front of the house every morning to exactly the same. pic.twitter.com/FOZj5Ewpme

— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) January 24, 2018

It’s not amazing that one can use little water for so much. What amazed me when I went to the city was how much water was used. It was shocking to me.

— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) January 24, 2018

We had two tanks of water at home. We only ever used the water in the tanks when it was raining and for emergencies. The rest of the time, water was fetched from the river even though the tanks were full.

— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) January 24, 2018

Millions of South Africans go through what many people in CT are complaining about everyday. In fact, many people in the townships in Cape Town who live in informal settlements only use water like I used it in the village.

— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) January 24, 2018

This is not some exotic foreign experience for many. It’s life. The only one they know.

— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) January 24, 2018

Having said that. As a country, South Africa needs to be more careful with water. We have less rainfall than the world average. The average annual rainfall for South Africa is 450ml (compared to a global average of 860ml) according to Wikipedia.

— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) January 24, 2018

Dlanga's tweets struck a chord with many including @PelisaS.

I grew up in Khayelitsha eKapa. Was telling my colleagues (abelungu) today, that we (abantu abamnyama) will survive when the taps are switched off. We've been water rationing since the beginning of time.

— EzamaZondi 👸 (@PelisaS) January 24, 2018

Water warrior Western Cape Premier Helen Zille also sparked a conversation when she tweeted a picture of here washing in a "skottel".

This is me standing in my skottel to wash. It's amazing how little water one actually needs for a good scrub. The water is cold bcos waiting for warm wastes too much. pic.twitter.com/AJXG1Oh0CY

— Helen Zille (@helenzille) January 24, 2018

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula responded with four words.

We’ve been doing it https://t.co/hphgxWfWRh

— Min of Police: Mr Fearfokkol (@MbalulaFikile) January 24, 2018

To which Zille responded: "Dear Mbaks. You are not the ONLY ONE who grew up washing e-Vaskomini! My mother used to scrub me like that too."

Others also called out Zille saying this was nothing new. 

Good to know that you are experiencing whats it like washing in a skottel. The less fortunate in SA have been using this method to wash for many years due to governments lack of providing services. The disparity between the have and have not's is alarming.

— Faizel Patel (@FaizelPatel143) January 24, 2018

We've been efficient abelungu are only catching up now ukuthi iVaskom saves water😂😂😂 https://t.co/XwJzbFyHxs

— #Vho_Gustavo (@JustSwasheki) January 24, 2018

IOL

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