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Jerry Cans, Fuel lines And One Rooms

The queue in fuel station courtyards seemed like the bread queue in a neighbouring country with the great Rob at the wheel.

Rob just knew how to steer ships to choppy waters. In fact, if school is captaining a ship into treacherous waters Rob would have been the graduation.

There was a common denominator about this queue though. From a distance, everyone seemed to be wearing some sort of green adornment. On closer inspection the green adornment was a Jerry Can, a priceless commodity in these times of fuel shortages. For me, the strangest thing about the Jerry Can is not its sudden spike to fame but the fact that in the Jerry Can factory, they seemed to have only one colour of paint, military green. Every fuel station was a sea of green and looked like a vegetable patch.

Multitudes gathered at the fuel stations to fuel up their vehicles. Some slept at fuel stations. Others slept across towns in strange beds with familiar people other than their spouses. Some even left town to cuddle with even stranger people in the next town. The official reason was always that they had to queue up for petrol.

Wives hated the ‘I am going to the fuel station’ statement. Men had to find ways of going to the fuel station or wherever else without actually saying it. The less creative failed and the fuel warning lights eventually burned out and the family was stuck at home.

The challenge with the Jerry Can full of fuel that can fill up a Honda Fit is when you have to store it and you stay in a One-Rooms. At this point, I should make a

distinction between a One-Rooms and a one room. Now, a one room is a room used exclusively for sleeping in while a One-Rooms is used for sleeping in, bathing in, lounging in, laying your hat and a few intimate friends and creatures.

A One-Rooms is where you can turn over food in the pot while in your bathtub (ok, this is one you buy from the tinsmith deep in the heart of Mogoditshane). It is a kind of mobile bathroom.  The mobile bathroom is the reason why most of us were scrubbed clean and also the reason why some of us have developed biceps even though we could not afford the super-mall gym.

Now there is the cooker! In the One-Rooms the cooker is always gas-powered. This might not be entirely true but it is very close. No self-respecting landlord can allow a tenant to use electricity to power their cooker in most rental estates especially in Tlokweng, the One-Rooms capital of the world. Apparently, with the steep increase in electricity tariffs that was inspired by COVID-19 these serious business-savvy landlords are looking at ways to ration the electricity.

So effectively if you bring a Jerry Can full of fuel into a One-Rooms you are essentially sleeping with a bomb. The President has just put the skids on the Jerry Can train. This madness will only happen on Thursdays from now onwards. That means you now only have one chance to blow your little life to smithereens. Much better odds.

(For comments, feedback and insults email

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