Loadshedding exacerbates feelings of fear, anger and disgust

Feelings of anger, disgust and fear among South Africans rose exponentially after loadshedding stage six was announced last weekend, according to the University of Johannesburg’s Happiness Index research, first launched in South Africa on April 30 2019.

Wellbeing economist, professor Talita Greyling, and Dr Stephanie Rossouw from Auckland University of Technology, developed the indicator that is able to measure happiness in real-time by using sentiment analysis.

Economists have looked at humans as people who do not make decisions but who rather react to emotions. With their emotions, the indicator is able to predict and explain what happens in economics and politics.

Greyling found that the emotions of anger, disgust and fear increased far above average levels with the announcement of stage-six loadshedding, and the happiness of South Africans dropped below the average of 6.85 to only 6.44 on Sunday, September 18.

Figure 1: Gross National Happiness of South Africa (10-18 September 2022)

The index is now at its lowest level since April 2022.

The negative emotions (see table 1) reflect disappointment, anger, and distrust of government officials, and fear of further increases in unemployment and poverty.

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Mbalenhle Zuma

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