Save Your Tears – You May Need Them One Day

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By Refentse Malatji

This article is exclusive to the online Edition 1 of VARSITY Newspaper. 


As a student in res, I long for the days where taking a shower does not consist of being struck by freezing, cold water in the wee hours of the morning while simultaneously avoiding the advances of the shower curtain. Does anyone else feel this incessant fear when opening the lid of the toilet? You never know what you’re going to find. It may be a mound of mash-potatoed-toilet-paper, liquid gold, or tree trunks growing from the tunnel at the bottom. Some people take the whole water saving thing WAY too far.

However, we must be doing something right because Day Zero is continually being pushed back. And, as much as I’d like to go on a rant about how sucky this all is, the truth is that many people have been living like this for most of their lives. An inconvenience for us now, has been a reality for a large majority of South Africans. The drought has brought to light the disheartening disparity between the rich and the poor because many of us now find ourselves in the shoes of the underprivileged regarding access to water. Yes, the drought sucks, but so does inequality. So, save your tears, water is a precious resource.

Image by Sipho Mpongo.

Sometimes after a long day on campus, I find myself coming home and contemplating taking a five-minute shower. The reality is that selfish thoughts are often shared by others. If you take a five-minute shower, believe that at least twenty others are too. If you feel that you fall on the selfish side and are struggling to save water, fear not, because here are a few ways in which my res mates and I have been saving water:

  • Take stop-start showers: The ultimate wake-up call in the morning is a daily dose of cold water. If you’ve been letting the cold water flow down the drain and taking scathing hot showers, you have been doing something wrong my friend.
  • Sing the Frozen chorus five times when the water is running: If you haven’t been doing this already, have your showers really been less than 2 minutes?
  • Do laundry with a friend to compile a full load: But make sure you trust the person you’re doing a load with. You don’t want to find them wearing your jeans claiming that it’s theirs.
  • Extend the uses of your clothing items: Try wearing an article of clothing for as long as possible. If you find yourself standing in a Jammie with your armpits exposed, I’m sure the rest of the UCT community will forgive you. We are all in the same boat.
  • Hand wash your laundry: Grab a bucket and put those privileged hands to work.
  • Drink Hentjies water: Yes, sometimes it tastes strange (the pH levels are bit sketchy) but how sure are you that tap water is safe to drink?
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