Vuil skottelgoed was the Afrikaans category winner of Human & Rousseau’s I’m a Writer competition, held in co-operation with Huisgenoot, You and Drum magazines, RSG Befonk and SABC Education. It is a typical punk novel, and the language is from the world of hard rock musicians and skateboarders. It is also a coming of age story in which the main character, Bastian, gets purged in the moshpit of Cape Town’s night life.
Bastian rebels against his parent’s wish for him to study law at the University of Stellenbosch, and he bolts to Cape Town. He gets a job in a skating shop in Long Street and joins an Afrikaans punk band. In true punk style even the name of this band is one of the novel’s many shock effects. Although he ocassionally still goes skating at Artscape or somewhere in the industrial area of Woodstock, his Cape existence is actually nothing more than a whirlpool of alcohol, drugs, sex, hard rock and even harder partying.
Just before he is swallowed and devoured completely, he sees the light and decides to return to his home in Kimberley. He is grateful to be alive, but it is not as if the place he’s run away from has changed. It is still a sad middle class existence, and although his parents are glad to have him back, they are as bourgeois as before. Is there a way out? Again Bastian digs into his father’s liquor cabinet and this brings him to the edge of suicide. In the novel’s end he balances on the thin line between life and death … and then tumbles over to the side of life. A responsible life, but a life on his terms.