Barnato res succumbs to tap hysteria

missing-tap.jpgPhoto taken by Melissa Douman

Melissa Douman

The case of the missing Barnato res shower taps has been solved.

It all started when one shower tap fell off and disappeared. Other taps started disappearing until, three weeks later, 52 taps were gone.

If Barnato hosts 275 students, and has 26 showers, it means that not a single shower had a tap on it. This would imply that the showers remained dry and unused. But, to the surprise of some students, they appeared still to be in use.

Was it a ghost? Was it a ghastly shower fiend – an apparition addicted to midnight showers?

No. The culprit was one of their own. And then … many. Apparently, when the first tap went missing, an alarmed resident decided to make off with their own tap just in case more went missing. Six more residents started feeling the angst, and decided to take their own taps.

This was when the matter was reported. But before the mystery could be investigated by the intrepid maintenance officer, he went on holiday. And while he was gone, the file went missing.

Three weeks later, 46 anxious students had nabbed all the other taps. They shared their personal taps with selected friends. This left the remaining students, who clearly didn’t have friends with tap influence, without the possibility of a shower.

The left-out students, clearly in danger of further ostracisation due to their enforced lack of hygiene, had to use the basins in their room or the single bath on each floor.

A bath is not what most men and women dream of sharing. After 10 or 12 people have been there before, it is not a pretty sight. As a result, one student caught an infection.

It was then that maintenance took over the case. But this was not the happy ending. While investigating the mystery of the missing taps, res management first replaced only 46 taps. When they came to replace the remaining seven the next day, 16 taps were missing.

This went on for several days. Each day, the number of missing taps grew. Eventually, all the taps were replaced on the same day.

And since then, everybody has had their very own hot shower. Case closed.

Thabo Hlabangana, the Assistant Registrar at Barnato says the problem would not have escalated in the way it did had the file not gone missing. He says that, in future, all complaints will be directed to him as well as maintenance.

The strange phenomenon of disappearing taps is not new to him. He says he experienced it three times during his stay at Wits – once at Essellen and four years ago at Barnato.


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