This past week I have been whingeing and whining and throwing my toys. For four days we had no water. Zilch, zippo not a drop.

Over the past couple of months we have had our water supply interrupted with 24 hours on and 24 hours off. We have learned to keep a 25 litre container next to the loo and as many bottles of water in the fridge for cooking that we could store. A few weeks ago we even had the bath tub filled as a backup precaution. Of course the water situation stabilised until 2 days after we pulled the plug in the bath.

A SlumCustomer Service Call centres are the biggest rip offs invented by big business and those with power over mere mortals like you and I. They form an impenetrable wall between you the consumer and the supplier of services. When you phone to find out how long you will be without water you are told “I don’t know”. The call centre staff are not allowed to give you any information that may be helpful.Township

You are told a water tanker will be sent to your street. You ask what time to expect it. Naturally that is highly privileged information. You ask to be contacted when the tanker arrives. Sorry, no can do. That is a different department. On day 3 our entire townhouse complex congregated at the gate armed with our buckets and jugs and waited with anticipation. Two and a half hours went by and no tanker arrived.

Phone calls to the Mayoral Office, the Head of the Water Department and everyone else you could imagine didn’t help a scrap.

Again we went to bed dirty with mountains of dirty dishes, stinking loos and piles of laundry waiting to be washed.

As the days went by a scary thing happened to me. I started to panic. I know it was irrational but my lips felt parched and dry even though we still had drinking water. I couldn’t focus on my work and I became lethargic.

Then came the anger. I do not like living like this. I want my daily shower and I can’t stand the mess. I wanted to throw things, I wanted to scream abuse at anyone and everyone and yes …. I could quite possibly have taken the contents of my loo and dropped it on the floor of the mayoral office.

Despite our periods of discomfort we are lucky. Millions of South Africans live like this every single day of their lives. Yet they get themselves to work and school dressed in clean clothing and seldom complain. They are made of sterner stuff than I am.

I now have a much better understanding why people are protesting in the way they are. It is long overdue. The fear and panic as your dignity is taken away from you becomes overwhelming.