Coding matters: The South African god of lightning

Eskom and the god of lightning - image of a huge hand pointing a thunderbolt at a planet that looks like Earth.

Disclaimer: This is not about religious beliefs. So please don’t take offence at the use of the term "god" with a small "g".

Force majeure ala South Africa

Recently I had to review a contract with a large client. There was the standard provision relating to force majeure.

Force majeure is a French term that means “greater force”. It refers to events that are outside of a party’s control, like an earthquake or tornado. These events are often referred to as “acts of God”.

In South African contracts, the force majeure clauses now include Eskom failure.

(In some legal systems, an event must pass three tests to meet the criteria of an act of God. It must be unforeseeable, external, and irresistible. I don’t think Eskom failures qualify.)

The deification of Eskom

If acts of God now include grid failure, does that mean we have elevated Eskom to the status of a god?

I couldn’t find any reference to gods of electricity or incompetence. But many religions and mythologies have a god of thunder and lightning. Zeus, for example, is the Greek god of lighting.

I guess that makes Eskom the South African god of lightning. That’s appropriate: the power goes off in our suburb every time there is a storm.

Something went boom

We have 80 solar panels, 12 5kW batteries and a generator. But sometimes we still need Eskom power.

A few weeks ago, something at a local substation exploded and sent a surge through the grid. Unfortunately we were using grid power at the time. Everything, from UPSes to inverters to the generator, went haywire.

We got the system restored, but had to replace 17 surge protectors. If we didn’t have surge protectors, the damage would have been terrifying. Of course, our insurance doesn’t cover the cost of replacing the protectors.

I want a kick-butt hero(ine)

Fantasy fiction often has kick-butt hero(ine)s with superhuman powers. That’s because they need to defeat evil characters, demons and bad gods.

After replacing the surge protectors, I wish we were living in a fantasy novel with an epic hero. Because we need someone with superpowers to defeat Eskom.

As always, I’d love to hear your comments.

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