Pure Light in Tight Diesel Jeans
Translated from English by Themba Mkhoma into a version of Kasi Lingo* spoken in some parts of Soweto. The language draws primarily from the Zulu language and in its other forms borrows from Afrikaans and SeSotho/Tswana. *The term Kasi Lingo generally refers to an ever-evolving language which is a hotpot of a few to many languages spoken in townships across South Africa.
The piece explores a Skhothane battle, with all its waste-as-a-source-of-glory stunts where custard, yoghurt, cake and other delights are thrown at others, spilled and stepped on to diss and dismiss others while showing off one’s proximity to wealth (mostly non-existent) and elevating oneself above others. The story, as told by the self-proclaimed angel of light, Mavovo Mavakane, centres on an excessive and desperate desire to not just be seen but to be seen to be better than others and to be of more value than others. Mavovo tells the story of his victory against a rival Skhothane who has just set a pair of sought after Carvelas alight and how he crushes this opponent by taking all the money in his pocket and setting it on fire to the wild admiration and cheer of the crowd. He relishes how, in this moment, he is elevated above the regular hunger-stricken township boy to a human being, visible among other higher-ups, his sweet fart descending on all who look up to him.