An earthquake or the Comrades are pure fun compared to the acts of our government

Howard Feldman
Howard Feldman

An earthquake or the Comrades are pure fun compared to the acts of our government

By Howard Feldman

I am not sure what it says about my social life, but last week’s earthquake was the most fun we have had on Saturday night in years.

Maybe even in decades.

It was exciting. It got our heart rates up and had just the right element of danger. Unlike Netflix on a Saturday night, it was something that we did together as a couple. It was also very, very social. More than that: It gave us something to talk about for days as we relived, reminisced and shared the experience with anyone who would listen. In addition, there was a great sense of relief when it was over.

Much like Saturday nights used to be when we were younger.

It was also a welcomed break from loadshedding, water related discussions, potholes and the devaluation of the rand (thanks to the government’s Russian policy).

All of this was frustratingly preventable, predictable and given the current lack of leadership, probable: in contrast to the earthquake which could not have been planned for, could not have been prevented and where there was no one to blame (leaving aside the mining theory for now).

The great Boksburg/Alberton earthquake was not the only show in town. Comrades runners and supporters who were already in Umhlanga, with a hint of Pietermaritzburg, were busy with their own earth-shattering event which – like the earthquake – was social, dangerous (no one should be running that distance) and was something that would be spoken about for days. Much like the earthquake, it too was a relief when it was over.

As frightening as the 4,4 earthquake was when it hit at 02:38, on the most part it was treated with humour and levity. Aside from the neighbourhood hadidas who were unimpressed with being woken an hour or two early, most people, once they realised that their homes were not being broken into, that their husbands were not having seizures, that the Russians hadn’t arrived and that there was no bulldozer in the garden, seem to take the Boksburg/Alberton event in their stride, pausing only to confirm on Twitter that everyone had experienced the same thing.

What is clear, is that South Africans are desperate for a break from the depressing and repetitive reality with which they are forced to deal with day in and day out: a reality that impacts them in almost every facet of their lives.

So desperate is this need, that they are prepared to punish their bodies and their families by choosing to run close to 90 km. So desperate are they, that they are happy to be woken up at 02:38 on a Sunday by the aggressive shaking of their beds. And because while they train and run and while their legs burn and their thighs chafe and their nipples are bleeding, it is impossible to consider what the ANC is doing to the country.

Because we would rather put our future in an act of God such as an earthquake in Brakpan/Alberton, than we would in our current government, which is way more frightening than Saturday night arrangements.


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