Long before Cape Town’s water crisis, rural villages and small towns all over the country had to contend with an irregular water supply and endless water purification issues.

Towns like Senekal and Clocolan have gone for days without water despite being close neighbours of the Mountain Kingdom, Lesotho, a country with a surplus water supply.

Long before Cape Town’s water crisis, children would run to collect sweets from Father Christmas. Now, those same children will scramble towards a lonely water tanker so that their grandmothers might have water for the day.

The queues will snake, perhaps for kilometers, while the young, fit and strong will elbow the old, weak and sick out of the way as the scramble escalates into a street fight.

Long before Cape Town’s water crisis, we could drink water straight from the tap, and enjoy the cool, refreshing taste of this natural resource to counter the increasing heat of the African sun.

Long before Cape Town’s water crisis, the rich hosed down their pavements and topped up their swimming pools, while the poor walked long distances, pushing rickety wheelbarrows and balancing large containers on their heads to and fro from some communal water supply.

As the water crisis spreads like a disease throughout the country, the rich will own water, purification plants, and sell water at extortionist prices, while the poor will be forced to add water as a line item to an already lean grocery list.

When the taps run dry and stand in our gardens as painful reminders of our wasteful habits, will we decorate them or have them removed to ease our own conscience?


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