South Africans don’t prep. Of all countries in the world that should prep, we don’t. The reason is simple. We don’t have many natural disasters like hurricanes and floods, we have the odd earthquake and some devastating fires thanks to the drought, but for the most part, the shops are open, the roads are clear and we can buy virtually anything we need at a moment’s notice.
The other reason we don’t prep is 1994. When our country made it’s transition to majority rule and apartheid was tossed into the dustbin of history, some people prepped. There was a run of baked beans and candles and people went overboard, so that when the transition was remarkably peaceful, they felt not only mortified by their lack of faith, but had to deal with all those baked beans! Years later, baked beans for breakfast … baked beans for lunch … yummy.
Prepping is associated with loony right wing khaki-clad yobs. We’re the rainbow nation, we all get along just fine. If the politicians and Bell Pottinger will just butt out of our affairs.
Which is why South Africans don’t prep, but we should.
This week I and many other watched in horror as the small Western Cape town of Kleinmond was invaded by protesters, rioters, whatever term you like to use. More than a week ago, the main shopping street was trashed. An uneasy peace lasted for a week or so, but yesterday, pitched battles were fought with the police, the surrounding veld was set on fire and people were trapped in their houses under a barrage of rocks and petrol bombs. Surely the worst case scenario any of us can ever imagine. Sweet little touristy fishing village Kleinmond, surely not? And yet, it happened.
The facts were admirably covered by local newspaper Overstrand Herald who had a reporter on the ground all night and provided regular updates for the people confined to their homes for the duration of the troubles. I don’t plan to go into the issues at stake here, but never has prepping for a worst case scenario been more important and it was clear that many people were entirely unprepared for what was to come.
With this in mind, I’m offering the following advice for those who believe that incidents of this nature are going to become more common and might well happen in our very own neighbourhoods.
- Don’t ever run down the prepaid electricity meter so far that it starts beeping. As all the shops were closed, people were unable to recharge their meters. Buying online was an option, but this presumed people had enough data … Buy a little bit extra each month … the beeping is very irritating.
- Don’t ever run of our data. Much as I hate Facebook, it was the best possible way to find out what was happening and what was being done to save the situation.
- Keep at least 2 weeks supplies of whatever food and beverages you like, the shops might not be open and the roads blocked or dangerous. Don’t buy trays of baked beans, buy what you will eat. Cook and freeze ready meals that can be heated up, make sure you have enough treats and snacks. Don’t do this all at once, it can be expensive, but each time you shop, make sure you buy something extra for your prepping cupboard. Don’t forget the toilet paper.
- Don’t forget your pets. I’m a big culprit in this instance, I feed numerous feral cats and rarely keep more than a 2 day supply of cat food. I can only imagine their distress if they have to go without for days at a time, let alone weeks.
- If you don’t have a water tank yet, now is the time to make a plan. At one point the rioters were marching towards the water treatment plant. If they had succeeded in sabotaging this, the consequences would have been dire.
- Keep an adequate supply of gas and gas appliances in case the electrical substation is out of order.
- If you have a firearm, you may not rush out there and blam blam blam. While a firearm is useful if they penetrate the four walls of your house, it’s better to use non-lethal methods or face a serious problem once all dies down. And don’t be tempted to fire through the window into the street. One resident of Kleinmond who fired off two shots in the street was arrested. Likewise with paintball guns.
- Shutters on the inside of your windows are a good idea, but be sure to provide an escape route in the case of fire.
- Make sure your petrol tank does not go below half. Although petrol stations in Kleimond are open, they have no staff to man the pumps.
- It goes without saying that you should not wait until you are down to your last pill if taking chronic medicine. Keep at least a month’s supply prescription meds, extra oxygen if you rely on it and a well stocked first aid kit.
- Don’t try and relieve your anxiety by going onto Facebook and slagging off the police or the perpetrators of your distress, no matter how tempting it is. The police are the only thing standing between you and anarchy, they face peril every day and are obliged to act according to the law, whether you agree with it or not. The causes of these incidents are many and varied and taunting others electronically is foolish, makes the situation worse and will come back to bite you in the future.
I can hardly believe I’m writing this, but this week’s events were a giant wake up call for all South Africans. Don’t wait until it’s too late. There are numerous prepping, survival and homesteading sites that will prepare you for a worst case scenario like the one the people of Kleinmond faced this week. Don’t get hung up on the technology, the fancy torches and knives and guns. Make plans for the small things, food, power, water, medicine and you won’t be sorry if the unimaginable happens in your town.