Unbeknownst to the Housemates, South Africa is back in the throes of load-shedding, but they haven’t escaped the need to plan their resource consumption this morning, at 08:00 sharp, the Big Brother Mzansi Housemates received a brief from Big Brother. In his role as Head of House, Libo announced that the day would be focussed on the subject of conservation: the stove may only be used while music is being played in the House, and the fridge may only be opened during these times, too – although the number of times it may be opened has also been limited.
The use of appliances like microwaves and kettles has also been banned for the duration of the day. They were also informed that they needed to collect their water for the day during shower hour, requiring them to plan their use of the precious liquid and find ways to store it.
This is going to be a bit of a schlep, to say the least. The Housemates are in the habit of cooking big breakfasts and working on their Tasks during the afternoon. Without any prior knowledge of when music will be piped into the house, they find themselves without the ability to plan. This is also going to have a real effect on their ability to complete their dyeing Task.
While we may feel bad for the Housemates, however, it’s worth reflecting that this is how a lot of people are forced to live their lives, every day: they walk for miles with bottles to collect water from a communal source, carrying it back to their homes to dole out over the course of the day. Cooking is an exercise that requires careful weighing up of the options: using paraffin or gas for cooking might mean that you cannot use a heater to warm your home. Using water to wash might mean you go thirsty.
And this is for those people lucky enough to have access to clean water or fuel. Or even appliances with which to cook. Compared to these stark realities experienced by millions of people, the Housemates are in a positively privileged position: they have a roof over their heads, access to a fridge (albeit limited) and they are allowed to use something as luxurious as a toilet whenever they wish.