News Brief

South Africans Will be Sitting in the Dark for Most of the Year

Rolling blackouts may lead to taps eventually running dry and job losses soaring.

Last month, South Africans thought the power crisis in the country could not get any worse after the national power utility, Eskom, implemented stage four load-shedding for the first time ever. However, as rampant corruption and negligence continue to plague Eskom, it has been announced that load-shedding will continue for the next six months and may even escalate to stage five and six load-shedding.


On the 8th of May, South Africans will be voting in the national elections and it seems likely that even this will be carried out in the dark. Although President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Eskom would be unbundled into three separate entities in a long-term effort to rescue it, it seems not much will change in the short-term.

READ: South African Youth on 2019 Elections: "The ANC can no longer self-correct"

South Africans are reluctantly becoming accustomed to the absence of electricity in their homes. This is nothing especially new, however. A considerable number of impoverished South Africans, 25 years into the country's democracy, is still without running water and electricity.

After the ruling African National Congress (ANC) failed dismally to reign in rogue and corrupt employees and senior management at Eskom, load-shedding has disrupted businesses, the supply of water and communication lines. With winter set to begin in a few months, South Africans are understandably under duress and of course, the poor will be hardest hit.

In a country where poverty, unemployment and inequality are incredibly high, the effect of rolling blackouts are dire. Businesses are losing income on a daily basis and struggling to attend to their expenses, loans being chief among them.

Speaking on the matter, CEO of the SA Chamber of Commerce, Alan Mukoki, said:

"If you default on your loan, it effectively means you no longer have sufficient revenue to pay for many of your other costs and the likelihood is that you are going to have to dismiss staff because if you don't do that you are going to lose your business."

READ: Corruption is Literally Leaving South Africa Without Any Lights

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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