Category: prose

This became my South African book in my 257 (258) book challenge quite by accident. I have had it for a while – I tend to buy South African books at airports and obviously on that trip got side-tracked and didn’t read my purchase. I remembered it the other day and dived in. and pretty much swam to the end with maybe one breath.

It’s a cracker of a read with only a few slightly less than gripping sections.

The Bang-Bang Club, for those who may not know, was a group of crazy-ass photographers who covered the township wars in South Africa in the 1990s. Mostly. They also went to other wars but their uniqueness really is that they were war photographers in their own country. They were called Bang-Bang cos they chased just that – the bang-bang of political conflict.


The book is written by two of the four members of the Bang-Bang Club – Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva. The other two, Ken Oosterbroek and Kevin Carter are both dead so they are not able to defend the way they are portrayed in the book – which is a pity.


Crazy brilliant men, the four of them, with a weird slew of demons, particularly Carter. Carter is the man who took the Sudanese vulture and starving child photo he won a Pulitzer for, and the man who committed suicide shortly after collecting the award. Oosterbroek was killed by a stray bullet from the gun of a peace-keeper gun in Thokoza and the death Mandela hoped would be the last in his speech following the announcement by Inkatha that they would participate in the first democratic election in South Africa.

Running towards bullets protected only by a camera and the burning desire to get the perfect photograph is not the occupation of rational sane people. Two words I cannot imagine ever being used to describe these men. So much of what is covered in the book I remember – I think I am probably about the age these men are, or would be. I remember some of the photographs and the events they recorded. But I was safely behind burglar bars when the shit was hitting the fan, the bullets the bodies. I did my toyi-toyi at Wits as a student but I was never ever in any real danger, just like most whities at the time.

I do wonder if these men were crazy and that’s why they did the job they did, or did the job make them crazy? And does it matter? The result was some incredible coverage of what was going on in South Africa; a record of the violent, bloody and probably orchestrated start of the miracle that was South Africa pre and post 1994.

Living in this country every day, facing the challenges we face it is easy to forget what we did as a country. This book reminded me. We are an amazing people if we only stopped to remember once in a while.

I doubt that everyone who reads this book will get from it what I did, but everyone will get something valuable. It should be read – it is an alternate and very real chronicle of some very interesting times many of us were lucky enough to survive. And if you are too young to remember it – even more reason to read it. Lest we ever forget!

Clothing maketh……

I have a friend who is pinterest mad

I don’t get pinterest really but I like to write

so this weekend we decided she would send me a pinterest pic everyday and I would write something/anything about it. It is always nice to get some inspiration or direction for my random writing.

Here is the first attempt – with apologies to the person who wore the outfit and/or pinterested it first

The jeans slid over narrow hips and over the slightly curved buttocks. Zip up and a slight wriggle and they were comfortable. The padded lacy vest added interest where nature had been unkind. Peeping out from beneath a silky white shirt the delicate bow said sexy but still innocent enough to be a girl. Yellow sparkles under the neck drew attention down from the jaw line – a trick learnt years ago and employed frequently. Narrow wrists in beaten silver and co-ordinated yellow nails shifted the attention directly from the wrist to the tips of the fingers. No jarring between.

Lipstick, mascara, blusher and a well brushed wig completed Mike’s outfit and he was ready for work. It still amazed him that no one knew.

now look again – it could be


‘Oh cummon Susan’, said Alice. ‘You know you want to!’

Susan signed and got up. ‘Fuck Alice, every weekend. You’ve got a problem.’


Ten minutes later Alice was on her way to the White Rabbit pub. Her connection would be there, waiting with the goods.

Walking down the dark corridor to the pub toilets, her stash in her sweaty hand, Alice smiled. Life was about to get better.  A long slow sip of her drink sent liquid gold through her veins.  She felt the world spin away from her, the walls receding as she reached the door.  She sat on the closed toilet and exhaled slowly. In a few short seconds, nothing would matter anymore; she would be able to vanish, creeping beneath social radar and be safe with her secret.

Again she smiled when she slid the square of cardboard out of envelope; the cupcake design amusing to her. Her lips parted for the morsel and she slowly sucked the goods.

As she left the toilets, the trickle of altered reality began to seep into her consciousness. A running tap consumed her and she stood staring as the basin overflowed; the water running over her feet and into her shoes.

‘What the hell?’ she asked an advert on the wall. The mouse in the picture stared back at her, silent. The other animals on the poster began to run around, leaping off the wall and scampering away.

Shaking her head, Alice walked back into the pub.

‘Come with me,’ said her dealer. ‘We’re going to my house.’

Unable to resist, Alice left the White Rabbit with him.

Later that night, still unable to control her sense of self, she lay next to the dealer. Looking at his naked body, penis like a caterpillar draped on his thigh, she felt like the Queen of Hearts.

He turned to her and smiled, his teeth whitely visible in the night against his dark skin.

‘Now that was some trip into wonderland,’ he said as he reached over to light his hooka.

inspired by artwork by Jeftoon01 Source:

Go check out the other Twisted Princesses etc

a repost from my old blog

Smoky people

This is a blog inspired by a random wiki article
read the article first if you want the story to make real sense
or don’t

Once, a long long time ago and far far away a group of small mountain people lived in the trees on top of a very very high mountain. No one else lived near the top of the mountain so the Smoky people lived alone in harmony.

They made their homes in the holes in the trees. The mommies and daddies collected feathers and bits of fur and made warm places for the children to sleep. The children played on the branches of the trees, jumping and skipping and hiding.

The Smoky people were small and light green. They had big dark eyes, like melting chocolate. Their ears were tiny and flat against their heads. They all wore trousers made from soft silky leaves. They had hats which looked like the flowers that grew on the trees. Their feet were broad and flat with toes which could grip the tree branches like monkeys.

They could not hear very well though, but they did not need to. They talked to each other in high squeaks and sang like bells tinkling in the wind. The only danger they faced was that from birds. And their ears could hear the high pitched sound a bird’s heart makes as it flies. When they heard a bird coming, they would crouch down, under their flower hats and sit very still under the bird flew away.

The Smoky people were happy all the time. But they were most happy when they could hear god purr. Sometimes the sky would be lit up with great big flashes of light and water would fall from the branches above them. When this happened everyone got excited and would all gather on a branch and look up at the sky. Their little ears would strain to hear the distant rumble of god. They would clutch each other in excitement as they got drenched and saw their world in flashes of light.

And when the rumble of gods purr reached their ears they would leap about it joy, slipping and sliding on the wet branches, grateful to hear the joy of god.

And then one day a strange tall person arrived. He arrived below the Smoky peoples’ trees and brought with him strange large animals that rumbled too and ate all the grass. The man started to cut down the trees to make more space for the strange, chewing, lowing animals. And the happy people had to leave their trees and move to other trees further down the slope.

And still the man cut down the trees and still further from the top of the mountain the little people had to move. The flowers on the new trees looked different and the birds found and carried away some of the Smoky people. The trees were different and some children slipped and fell, vanishing into the green below. The happy people were now sad and lost.

Then one day the water fell and the sky lit up again. The sad people once again sang with joy and gathered at the edge of a branch and listened. They listened more carefully than they ever had. They needed to hear their god purr; they had lost so much else already. But the water fell and the sky lit up and there was no purr. Their god did not purr for them anymore.

And still, to this day, these little people live too far down the mountain to hear the thunder with their little ears. And they think they have lost their god.

100 words – death

Silver needle, mercuric solution, glinting in the shaft of light penetrating the dust mote filled room.

I pushed it against his arm, the skin resisting, a small unnatural dimple forming in his elbow. The sound sense of a tear ripped through the silence, the inhaled air, as the skin broke and the needle penetrated his being.

A swirl of blood in the syringe as the plunger pulled back with expectation, and forward, pushed rushing, liquid flooding into his body.

A slow sleepy smile on his face as the hole in his soul shrinks. And implodes with a ragged final breath.


Sharp, angular, scratching

Harsh, edgy, thin and mean


The air of jo’burg assaults, roughens up and dries out

It screeches down your throat and pokes your lungs

offering up meagre  oxygen silted with pollution

begrudgingly replenishing


Soft, round and gentle

Warm and generous


Durban air caresses and envelopes

Rolls into you, full and plump

Seeped in oxygen, moisture ridden and fragrant

Welcoming, loving arms