Extract of The quiet violence of dreams, by K. Sello Duiker, Kwela Books, 2001.

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Ja, the Cape Flats. They are like a complicated underground sewage system. Everyone I know there would like to live somewhere else but they pretend they are having the time of their life. That’s why people make so much noise, why they laugh so hard and shriek. They do it because in their private moments they are holding back tears that are choking what’s left of them. They are being eaten by jealousy and envy and anger for what so and so did to them. You stop being a person if you spend your whole life in the Cape Flats, if you don’t go out for a while, even for a day. The deaths, the rapes, the break-ins, the break-downs, they become a way of life, stupid numbers which amount to nothing and that people soon forget. No one remembers that Mrs Paulse was actually a decent lady before they killed her son. No one remembers that before she became cold and stopped greeting people and started pouring hot water on neighborhood children who played outside her door noisily, that she used to smile. No one remembers how pretty she used to be before she became a skinny hag with too much hatred. People take you at face value because they have nothing to offer. They have so little themselves, so little pride, so little respect and a sense of worthiness. They have their own story to tell and it is seldom about school or good manners or family values. It is more about thug life, Friday night at Bennie’s tavern where you can get a bootleg liquor for nothing, doing buttons with zol or getting your piel sucked off by some cheap, HIV positive prostitute that you paid or to do you and your friends. It is about walking the streets wondering where your next meal is coming from, who you have to rob to get it, where you can go to buy a gun for cheap. It is about drug lords running the streets and the streets running them into jail and more trouble. Till the Twenty-Eights don’t like the Twenty-Sixes and your connection becomes your enemy. It is the home of misery, of take, take and take till it bleeds. Take till there’s nothing left, till there’s a hole in the ground.

///Article N° : 5515

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