Mid-June and the long-weekend which in lockdown was just like every other day, except we had no power. Our box on the pole outside our house was open and wires were dangling. But it was freezing cold and City Power were "putting out fires" everywhere. So several logged calls and 56 hours later, we were finally reconnected. But the joy was short-lived as we were hardly on when the mini-substation in Chiswick Street blew. So no power again. Eventually someone came to reconnect us. For the next three days it was reconnected, then the box would start smoking, and then we would lose power. Then some poor City Power sod would work through the night to replace the burnt wires and replace all the trip switches.
On Day 3 it was determined that the mini-sub was beyond repair. But the City of Johannesburg Council had not met to pass the budget, there were no new mini-subs in stock, and there were no generators available. But our Councillor, Bridget Steer, and Brixton neighbours Jonathan Thompson and Issie Sattor never stopped working on the problem. And within a few days, a ginormous, loud, noisy generator appeared. This became the centre of our lives and all we heard was a comforting hum that meant we could have a hot bath and watch tv. This noisy boy became a community centre. All those affected would gather around him and talk. We started a WhatsApp group and anytime a new face appeared, they were added to the group. We noted when he was filled. And this happened with comforting regularity. There were group outings to the depot to see if there was any progress and every snippet of information was posted, devoured, shared and disseminated on the group. Those with gas boiled water for those without, phones were charged in neighbours' cars, emergency lights were shared. Then special permission was granted and a new box was sourced and collected.The 15 hours it took to install were monitored, shared, discussed and filmed. And now we are a community. We know each others' names, we greet, we smile, we wave. Jonathan has helped several houses sort out connection issues. And when someone tried to access the electricity box on the pole outside our house in the middle of the night, the four beautiful lads across the road came out and had a "chat" with them. Because we are all in this together!
Brixton Community Forum members share their views on neighbourhood matters, and we interview Brixton residents. #BrixtonBeautiful