Rampolokeng's third novel Bird-Monk Seding is a stark picture of
life in a rural township two decades into South Africa's democracy.
Listening and observing in the streets and taverns, narrator Bavino
Sekete, often feeling desperate himself, is thrown back to his own
violent childhood in Soweto. To get through, he turns to his
pantheon of jazz innovators and radical writers. This place is
called SEDING, short for Leseding, place of light. Quite ironic
given the darkness throbbing at its core and spilling out bubbling
in the blackest rage when least expected. Surrounded by farmland in
all directions, it is a settlement of about 700 households crammed
in tiny structures. Average 7 souls per hovel. It used to be made
up of ramshackle corrugated iron shacks that seemed tossed down
regardless of aesthetics. Then the new administration's housing
programme kicked in. Man in the bush in quest of Bosman's ghost.
Finding AWB rabidity. Tranquillity so deep it kills. Hate-hounds.
Beneath the surface quiet, such racist rotten-heartedness. &
children dying. Starvation abounds. Raw sewage in the water supply.
Crap in the taps. Skin matters. Ancient white beards sexing black
teens for tins, food exchange. The soul's impoverishment. The
starved get their humanity halved. And weekends of sex-tourism.
Alcoholic stares everywhere. Deep fear too.
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