Singing in the Shower

How two-minute songs helped save Cape Town


Everybody sings in the shower. At least that’s the belief that Susan van Rooyen and Moe Kekana were operating under as they developed a brilliant water-saving campaign in Cape Town, South Africa. And as it turns out, they were right.

As drought conditions became grave in late 2017 and the threat of Day Zero approached, the South African government announced the need for dramatic reductions in water usage. In the name of water conservation, it asked residents to take showers lasting two minutes or less.

To support this effort, van Rooyen and Kekana, along with their colleagues from the communications firm King James Group, created a musical challenge called 2-Minute Shower Songs. The idea was that Cape Town citizens could play a quick tempoed song, sing and scrub for two minutes, and shut off the water when the music stopped. The campaign was wildly successful.

van Rooyen and Kekana asked South African musicians to record short, two-minute versions of their most popular songs. The response was overwhelmingly positive. The music—10 songs that range from mellow house music to bass-driven rap—was recorded within two weeks in November 2017. “We basically created an album in under a month,” van Rooyen told NPR.

In the face of increasing water scarcity, population growth, and urban development, programs that encourage conservation are becoming increasingly important. As members of the water industry, we are continually discussing the importance of effective conservation messaging and public awareness programming. How can municipalities best convey the value and urgency of reducing water usage? How can they inspire customers to actively participate in conservation programs? What creative conservation outreach programs has your organization developed? WE_bug_web


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