South Africans are currently living through an unprecedented energy crisis that subjects them to daily rolling blackouts. To blame? Corruption, waste, mismanagement, criminality, and outdated infrastructure. Supposedly to avoid overloading the antiquated electrical grid, the power is shut down several hours a day — sometimes for up to 12 hours at a time. The impacts on people can be severe, economically, psychologically, and physically. Just ask people in countries where it’s also a regular occurrence: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Yemen, the Gambia, and Honduras, to name a few.

Currently, the government in South Africa has a protocol that lays out eight stages of rolling blackouts, or “loadshedding” as it’s known. The highest loadshedding stage the country has reached to date is Stage 6, in which customers can be “shed” of power up to 12 times over a four-day period. A new proposal raises this to 16 stages with 24 hours of rolling blackouts in a 32-hour period at the highest stage.

The government official who came up with the new proposal, Vally Padayachee, chairman of the Orwellian-sounding National Rationalised Specifications Association of South Africa, recently told a local newspaper that the new stages “should not raise alarm, and should not be viewed as an indication that Stage 16 rolling blackouts are inevitable.” Yeah, right.

Instead of focusing on fixing the problem, South Africa’s corporations and media are actually normalizing the crisis. For example, satellite television provider DSTV ran a #ShedHappens campaign a couple of years ago encouraging people to “fill their devices” with content while they have access to Wi-Fi so they have something to watch in the dark, spooky, power-free hours.

Not to be left behind, Woolworth’s got in on the action recently, as our friend Helen pointed out. The South African grocery store chain’s latest limited edition cookbook — imaginatively dubbed Loadshedding Cookbook — promises that “loadshedding doesn’t have to ruin your dinner… anymore.” Described as an “ingenious collection of 89 recipes to help you navigate” power cuts of any duration, the book boasts 30-minute meals, one-pan “lifesavers”, and easy hacks like boiling up a large batch of rice in advance, or slapping some canned tuna on a cracker (and, we presume, pretending you’re eating canapés at cocktail party instead of huddling around your flashlight shooting dirty looks at each other).

And for those with a sweet tooth who can’t do without dessert, there’s this steaming pile of ingenuity: no-bake chocolate cake. Yumm!

We here at Collapse Life certainly have nothing against figuring out how to roll with the punches. Definitely have some canned food, dry staples, and drinking water on hand (ideally three or four week’s worth for you and your household). Definitely get yourself a camp stove/butane hotplate so you can cook when the electricity goes out. Have some backups in place, like maybe some portable solar panels to charge devices, or a small backup portable power pack. Knowing how deep the incompetence runs, definitely don’t get caught empty-handed.

But, while we suggest rolling with the punches, we definitely don’t suggest rolling over. Steam up a batch of shitty chocolate tortes, head over to your local politician’s office, and let them eat cake!