Risk, by Jason Staggie
Writer and filmmaker Jason Staggie has four main obsessions in his life: socially conscious transgressive fiction, the art movement fluxus, edgy dialogue driven films and South African renaissance. Risk (2013) is his debut novel.
DO NOT LEAN ON DOOR. DO NOT OPEN DOOR WHILE TRAIN IS MOVING.
I sit staring at the sign and wondering how many people have died by ignoring this advice. I imagine hundreds, for the door looks ancient. The train rears to a halt and the door opens slowly. Three young coloured kids get on, smoking cigarettes. They're wearing identical Levi's indigo jeans and Quicksilver hoodies. It's noon on a weekday. They're either not attending school at all or playing truant for the day. It's the height of summer in Cape Town and I don't blame them. I only took the train today to see the scenery on the Simonstown line. These kids can't be more than fifteen years old, yet they're chainsmoking the cigarettes to the filter and with their hoodies pulled over their heads on this sweltering sub-Saharan day, I can't help but think that these kids are pining for a chemical other than nicotine. I can see the inevitable happening before it does. A pretty young white woman makes her way daintily to the door. She's carrying a little Prada handbag, which I can see is a fake (I have a trained eye), but it's not so much the bag as the contents they're after. The train stops and just as she is about to make a movement, one of the kids kicks her on the shin as another grabs the bag. Within seconds they're out the door and gone. I jump in, offering faux concern to comfort the young lady, who is now sitting on the floor sobbing. At first she looks at me in fear, expecting a second round, but the moment I open my mouth and middle-class English flows from my lips, she is at ease. Are you okay?' 'Yes, thank you. I don't know what's happening to this country any more.' I help her to her feet. None of the other passengers in the carriage seem to have noticed the little spectacle. She has missed her stop and the trauma has forced her to take a seat next to me. I'm holding her hand. Nothing like a bit of fear and panic to get the juices flowing. Not that I'm complaining. The day is young and I am in no mood for classes. That would be a waste of this perfect day, in this city of absolute beauty.
Nelson. Nelson. Nelson. How does one live up to someone like Nelson Mandela? One of my first childhood memories is of my father's statements about how I was named after the greatest African who had ever lived. A man who spearheaded the Struggle against the ignorance that was apartheid. A man who signifies freedom and equality wherever one might go in this world of ours. The one Madiba. A man who spent twenty-seven years of his life in prison so that the people of South Africa could be free. So that I may roam the streets with no recollection of what apartheid really was. A man who was not bitter after all those years but instead stuck with his ideas of what equality truly means. How does one live up to Nelson Mandela? The Struggle is over. We are free. Yet I'm here and I feel as if there is nothing to do. [...]
This is an excerpt from the novel Risk, by Jason Staggie.
Author: Jason Staggie
Publisher: Random House Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2013
ISBN 9781415203934 / ISBN 978-1-4152-0393-4
Softcover, 14 x 22 cm, 192 pages
Staggie, Jason im Namibiana-Buchangebot
The novel Risk revolves around a group of hedonistic university students who create an ultimate dare game.