EXCERPT | Revenge by Phumlani Pikoli from The Fatuous State of Severity

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Phumlani Pikoli, son of former prosecutor, adv Vusi Pikoli during an interview on October 27, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Felix Dlangamandla)
Phumlani Pikoli, son of former prosecutor, adv Vusi Pikoli during an interview on October 27, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Felix Dlangamandla)

On 11 April 2021, the Pikoli family announced that their beloved son Phumlani Pikoli had died aged 33. A talented multidisciplinary artist, Pikoli was the winner of the 2020 South African Literary Award’s K. Sello Duiker Memorial prize for his novel Born Freeloaders and the author of the short story collection The Fatuous State of Severity.

Forever making, questioning and documenting the worlds he occupied, Pikoli remained committed to storytelling, a gift he described by saying: “I guess I’m just trying to make sense of my own existence by playing around.”

Below is an excerpt from the short story, “Revenge”, part of Pikoli’s literary debut The Fatuous State of Severity; an exploration of the messy, laborious, layered and clumsy act of coping.

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