Water Angels
28 Feb 2016
Carte Blanche
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It’s dry in the Free State.  Dry and hot.  You can feel the dust in your throat.  Matted into your hair.  Pushed deep under your fingernails.  Printed into your eyeballs.  Five minutes in the sun is long enough to cause a heat rash.

Livestock stand lifeless in the ruthless heat and along the N6 we drive through kilometres of dead earth, brown with withered crops.

It feels like we are on the set of a Mad Max movie. Dust devils complete the surreal picture.

If only this was a Hollywood blockbuster.


In Smithfield, 133kms south of Bloemfontein, if you don’t have a borehole, you have BIG problems.  In the surrounding townships, families depend on the municipality and the kindness of those who are willing to share their borehole water.

But, these donations don’t come around every day.

Most families get about 10 litres per day.  And, they have to make it last because who knows when the next ration will come?

Queuing for water

It rained two Saturdays ago.  Big, promising drops pelted down on parts of the Free State and were sucked up in seconds.  The forecast for rain isn’t promising either.  The drought seems set for the next few months.  Unless there’s a miracle.


There aren’t any water restrictions in Gauteng.  I heard on the radio a few weeks ago that we need to stop watering our gardens but our taps continue to run.

The water situation in the Free State seems hopeless.

We can’t control the weather.

We can’t control the decisions our President makes.

Neither can we control the Rand.

But, we can control what we do.  We can choose to help each other.  And many South African’s have decided to do just that.

water Bottles

Water is filtering into parts of the Free State.  In trucks.  In horse boxes.  In two litre cold-drink bottles.  Drop by drop.  Bottle by bottle.

The idea is simple.  Basic even.

Send water to the Free State.  Manually.  Collect your containers.  Fill them up from your flowing taps.  Google where to drop them off at a designated collection spot near you.  Donations of transport are also welcome together with animal feed.

It’s easy.

water angels

I can tell you first-hand that families clap and dance when they are given five litres of water.

Let’s not wait for government initiatives.

Let’s make a plan.

Devi Govender

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