Michael Bevan was on an operating table as surgeons performed a delicate procedure on the artery supplying blood to his brain, when, without warning, the lights went out.
For 10 terrifying minutes he lay - conscious, as he had been throughout the operation - as computerised medical equipment re-started, using power from an emergency generator.
Dr Farrel Hellig, who stood by helpless as the computers re-booted, said the 69-year-old retired mine manager was fortunate to be alive. For those minutes he was perilously close to becoming a victim of a power crisis which is slowly sending the country into chaos.
Eskom, the state-owned electricity company, has implemented a series of rolling power cuts - euphemistically known as "load-shedding" - and South Africans are beginning to feel the effects.
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