Spring, Buckets of Water and… Celebration?

The 1st of September holds such a special place in my heart and for a great many South Africans too. For me, I ultimately see the day as a celebration of the incoming Spring/Summer season. For others… well, the experiences of this day might not be fondly remembered. There’s context — let me explain…

2 min readSep 3, 2021

Spring has Sprung in the Southern hemisphere and honestly, I welcome the change, especially after one of the coldest winters we’ve had in over 10 years. I prefer winter above summer by a mile, but something magical seems to happen in South Africa around this time…and it all starts annually, on the 1st of September.

(This piece was inspired by the above tweet by a popular content creator, @Okay_Wasabi:)

After seeing this tweet, it made me smile and feel “comforted” that the generations to come will continue our “hood traditions”. Gen Z is truly a cultured generation (well, 20% of the time).

(Me, passing a Gen Z with a bucket of water)

Ok, now an explanation:

  • Annually predominantly practised in the townships, the 1st of September is known as “Summertime”;
  • Basically, the day is “celebrated” by kids — by celebrate, I actually mean borderline torment innocent passers-by;
  • The streets are not safe because most kids (and unemployed adults) are armed with buckets full of water;
  • As a pedestrian, irrespective of age/gender/occupation, etc. if you are unaware of your surroundings or too slow to move, you might either (1) find yourself sopping wet and need to go home to change or (2) find yourself sopping wet in the office (because you could not go home to change).

The streets would remain wet from 05:00–19:00! While not certainly appreciated by the adult victims, “Summertime” brings back fond memories of my cousins and I, terrorising our neighbours with buckets of water or having to dodge the constant bucketloads on the way to school.

As fond as these memories are, I am still on the fence about passing on this “tradition” to my kids — because we need to conserve water in South Africa (and just not being an asshole human, in general). However, the experience of dodging the buckets, navigating (really) wet streets and the sheer thrill of trying to make it through the day as dry as possible, will always form part of some of my semi-core memories (yes, I watched “Inside Out” recently — I have two small kids, what do you expect?!).

With this in mind, all I ask for are many more “Summertime” days to experience…




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