Mr. Bitchless | ODE TO BLACKOUTS


One development that the year 2017 will always be remembered for in Malawi is persistent extended blackouts. We’ve always had blackouts in Malawi, of course, but when it comes to the longevity and frequency of blackouts 2017 outshined its preceding years by far. For a good chunk of 2017, 24+ hour blackouts were not uncommon throughout the country. My slutty granny has confided in me that such blackouts are a new phenomenon in the short period that this country has had electricity.

Enter 2018: Following the purchase/renting and installation of the controversial diesel gensets, things took a positive turn. During the first two months of this year, blackouts became a rare occurrence, which prompted me to conclude that Malawi had overturn the blackouts page. In fact, I am not the only one who thought so. Even Mr. Integrity and his government were also convinced that the gensets, which his haters and environmentalists loath cogently, would solve the perennial energy problem that our country has been facing.

Did he mean it when he made such a bold declaration? I don’t know.

But what I and the rest of the country know is that, despite the installation of the said gensets, blackouts are back in town! Yes, we’ve all noticed this.

And based on the recent trend, though the situation hasn’t reached the 2017 levels, when locations were experiencing 24+ hours of power cuts, there is a reason to believe that 2018 will not be that different from 2017.

As expected, some folks who claim to defend our rights and freedoms are in the process of organizing mass demonstrations where we, the citizens, will voice our frustration with these blackouts – among many other grievances that we supposedly have against Mr. Integrity’s administration.

Rumor has it that these demos will be staged on April 27, 2018. Not that I care, but the event will probably be cancelled again. Anyway, eff it.

What I know, though, is that every cloud has a silver lining. I mean, while blackouts can be a massive inconvenience and need not to be tolerated, I, Mr. Bitchless, thinks that honest Malawians need to appreciate some of the benefits that come out of blackouts. These benefits are as follows:

1. Easyvisas

A good number of my tied down folks have confided in me that one challenge about marriage is the limitation of the freedom to go out/stay out as soon as/as long as one prefers. Apparently, spouses lose their shit when their better half stays out late. Sadly, the better halves yield because nobody likes to share a bed with a pissed off soul. But with blackouts in full swing, the dynamics are different. Turns out that blackouts are a perfect excuse for staying out/going out late at night. Supposedly, better halves yield easily when their bae tells them that they came home late because they were evading the

“boredom” associated with blackouts. Don’t ask me the logic out it, but apparently it works.

2. Boosted energy business

While it is true that blackouts generally lead to reduced economic productivity, there are certain enterprises that benefit highly from pervasive power outages. I am referring to enterprises that involve selling goods such as: makala, gensets, Bluetooth speakers, and Chinese-made lamps. Not forgetting drinking joints (and any business associated with them), and barber shops owned by Burundians. Don’t ask me why Malawian owned barber shops don’t run when lights are off. Nevertheless, the people that run enterprises that I have mentioned reap immense benefits when ESCOM decides to eff with our comfort.

3. Children become more social

Here is the deal. If you take a casual walk through a regular middle class/affluent location, you’ll notice that the only time that you see kids from different families playing together outside is when there is a blackout. You don’t see kids playing outside when lights are on. That is because the kids are always glued to a plasma TV playing daft video games or watching lame cartoons when power is available. The only man to man interaction they have when power is on is when arguing for control of a TV/decoder remote with their sibling(s). No wonder most kids these days are growing up with pathetic social skills. Luckily to them, there is earphones these days.

4. Boosted church attendance

Okay, this doesn’t benefit Malawi as a country per say, but word has it that churches register soared attendances on Sundays when there is a blackout. When there is no power, even lukewarm Christians flock to church in multitudes…. to charge their phones, it has emerged.

Not that I am trying to stop you from participating, but as you wake up on that Friday morning, April 27th, 2018, readying yourself to participate in the demonstrations, reflect on the 4 reasons I have mentioned above. Keep in mind that there are individuals, families, and institutions that benefit from power outages and your decision to demonstrate is a threat to their wellbeing.

If you happen to be a person who is on the brink of losing it all because of the ongoing blackouts, I have a single suggestion for you: go get a job. Most workplaces have gensets these days, so you are guaranteed of power from 8AM to 5PM at least. You’ll be charging your gadgets however you want. If not, go process your membership to a nearby National Library and keep yourself occupied with a good ol’ book.



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