When the lights go out

Originally produced for 25 Voices, a documentary project by my Television 3 class.


As of the beginning of this year, over 15 million South Africans live on social grants. Future and his family are just some of the many people eking out an existence with these limited funds. They receive two R310 Child Support Grants every month. With this as the only income in the household, they have to pay for food, toiletries and electricity.

Their electricity supply was installed by the local Makana Municipality, which buys units directly from Eskom and sells it to their constituents at a mark-up. This, combined with inflation and rapidly escalating base rates for electricity, makes just keeping the lights on a daily struggle for the poorest of the poor.

A day’s worth of electricity costs Future’s family R22 and they barely receive enough units to make it through the day. More often than not, they will wake up and not be able to wash clothes or cook food until someone has made the long walk up the hill to the nearest shop that sells Makana electricity.

Future is not the only child who goes to school hungry in his community. All he wants is for Eskom to take over the municipal electricity supply so he and his community can afford to keep their lights on.


Starring Sandisiwe Future Veto

– Stuart Thembisile Lewis
– Nolo Lakaje
– Anelisa Salavu