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Phumlani Pikoli. Photo by Tseliso Monaheng.

This South African Short Film Explores Boredom And Giving Meaning To One's Life

Watch "Our Lives Are Bought," a film adapted from a short story by author Phumlani Pikoli.

South African self-published author Phumlani Pikoli wore his heart on his sleeve on his debut collection of short stories, The Fatuous State of Severity. The book, which came out last year, explored, among other things, mental illness, class and race. The stories in the book are told in traditional prose and grimy comic strips.


A new edition of The Fatuous State of Severity will be published by Pan Macmillan in February 2018. And because Pikoli is a modern author, he also uses video to expand on the stories from his collection.

The latest story to get the film treatment is "To Shy Away in Silence," from The Fatuous State of Severity. The story was first published in 2015.

On the short film, titled "Our Lives Are Bought," we hear Pikoli soliloquizing about his life, while we see him struggling to know what to do with himself in his house.

"The film explores classed ideas around boredom and giving meaning to one's life," says Pikoli.

Watch the film below, follow Pikoli on Twitter and visit his website for PDF and audio versions of The Fatuous State of Severity.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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