Fear in the Life of the Illusive Black

A 1st year Physics student at a South African university wakes up delirious after an enduring drinking binge. As the hangover sets in he begins to question his education and what true meaning institutionalised education could bring to his life.

Thursday 08:30 AM at what was apparently Cape Town’s ‘Real’ Black University.

I had been mad drunk for several days in a strangely lucid delirium. Supplementing the subsequent and consecutive hangovers with cigarettes and hash, before taking a plunge into another bout of drinking. Hadn’t slept in two or three days, feeling tense, fidgety and incredibly shaky- a dying high. I put it down to forced psyche expansion, keeping it loose and easy, almost welcoming the madness. And I thought, here comes the Fear and Self-Loathing Dr Gonzo!

And I wondered, “Was there anything or something to be learnt from this drinking binge?” All I felt was a deep sense of psychological drain but I thought “Well, I’ve come far, let’s see where the dragon takes us!” Did I say that out loud? Did he hear it?

I shouted, “Hey neighbour!”

There was silence. The bastard didn’t answer. I knew he was there. Listening…

I took out my rolling papers but they were all wrinkled. Dry and rigid, almost brittle. The vodka must have seeped into them. They didn’t bend smoothly over the crushed hash as I rolled. When I tried to lick it shut, pop! and the herb flung right out.

“Fuck!” I roared, “Oi, Indian!”

“Uh…eh, yah!”

I walked through my semi-private toilet door and knocked on his door on the other side of the bathroom.

He opened up. “What’s up?”

“Could I use your pipe?” I asked.


He opened his wardrobe and rustled through clothes and took out two socks bundled together. He pulled a wooden pipe out of the socks. Then, a stupid smile on his face, body hunched over as he passed me the pipe – ”Wake and bake, huh?”

“Yeah. Thanks.”

I went back to my room and poured myself a drink. Opening my window, I sat down and looked out to the world beyond. I began packing my hash into the bowl of the pipe, lit up and pulled deep. Exhaling, I melted into the chair deep as a sense of calm washed over me. And I wondered, “What am I doing with my life?” Maths both angered and confused me, Physics left me nihilistic and the English they offer here leaves me wanting.

Life at the Cape’s ‘Real’ Black University left me with the worst kind of rage any human who is eager for life, is left with – an empty, inconsequential one.

I bought the ticket, took the ride and rode it heavier than I thought I ever could but it leaves me empty.

I started drinking…

And I told myself, “I’m going to turn this world on its head.”


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