Monday, 25 April 2011

Increase your vocabulary

My friend Ilse gave me a book to read : "Little Ice Cream Boy" by Jacques Pouw. Sounds quite innocent, doesn't it. Or maybe slightly pedo. But it is none of the two - it retells the story of of an Apartheid era assassin, now sitting in maximum security prison and serving three life sentences.
Even though the book is billed as being a novel, I understand it to be based on the life of Ferdi Barnard, who killed the academic David Webster, and was part of the Civil Co-Operation Bureau (CCB).

The book reminds me of Al Lovejoy's "Acid Alex" because both tell real-life stories about people and their actions that I could never have imagined. Both Gideon Goosen, the main character in Little Ice Cream Boy, and Alex from Acid Alex live in a world I would not be able to understand: violence, drugs, sex and rape intertwine to form the basis of their seedy existence. Life and death means nothing, it all revolves around the next hit, be it snorting coke up your nose or beating someone almost to death. Where does such violence come from?

Gideon kills a brothel-owner because he got the prossie Gideon likes pregnant. But not only does he beat him to a pulp, he empties his entire magazine into him. He flies into a rage and enjoys hurting people physically. He even tells of how killing someone is the greatest aphrodisiac.

I know this world exists, but I cannot imagine it. A world where it is normal to spend your weekend in a brothel banging under-age girls, smuggled in from who knows where, while you have a wife and kids at home. And then, Monday morning, you return to your job as a police officer , having been absolved of your crimes by chilling in the church for an hour on Sundays.

The idea of killing someone is so absurd to me. How can you? I can comprehend self-defence or it being an accident, but planning on doing it, I don't know how anyone could do that. Stalking someone like prey and then blasting them with a shotgun when they leave for work. And then just tuning around and calmly walking away. It is very strange to think people exist to whom life is not sacred.

The book was a page-turner but also very difficult because I could not relate to the main character at all : yes he comes from an abusive family, yes he has dodgy friends, but how can every choice you make be wrong. I mean, really, at some point you have to say to yourself : I choose not to fuck up my life further. At the end Gideon tells his friend to turn state witness in order to save himself. This was the only scene where he seemed human, because he is willing to sacrifice himself for his friend. But on the other hand, Goosen was going down in any case, so it probably didn't really matter.

Also, the novel vastly increased my Afrikaans dirty vocabulary:

groeps-woeps : group sex
bosbefok: people who suffer from post-traumatic stress after having fought in the Angola/Namibia border war
draadtrek : masturbate
fok-kop:  I would have thought it to be a fuck-head, but apparently its a fuck-hill
gabba: a friend
genotgrot=slymslot= well, hmm, let's say a woman's lady-parts
pomping= procreating
sif: I always took it to just mean disgusting, but it comes from syphilis. who knew?!
kleinkoppie: male sexual organ

Read the book. Not only will you be able to swear like a skewetiet spoedvark  but the story is actually quite interesting as well.


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