by Tebogo Ditshego
Kasi Nerd is an entertaining African fiction book about Koketso Motlhabane who is a young man from Kagiso in the West Rand of Johannesburg, struggling to navigate his way in his township community. He became an outcast in certain sections of community because of his love of books and passion for education. Sputla Siwelele who is the protagonist in the story, bullies Koketso whenever he sees him, and his crush Zodumo, constantly rejects his advances because his lifestyle is not viewed as cool enough for her.
This brings to light the social impact of peer pressure, where theoretically it may make sense not to give in, but it becomes less practical when you’re punished for trying to lead a productive lifestyle. Interestingly, when Koketso faced rejection or harassment, it led him to read more, because books became his refuge in challenging times. When his father Mogorosi Mothlabane had one too many drinks and started a fight with his mother Nomandla, he would retreat to his bedroom and read a book.
This book will illustrate the short term challenges, yet long-term benefits of not trying to fit in to society, and to rather realise the benefits of standing out. The underlying message which I leave is “Don’t accept the status quo. You are not here to conform, but to make a difference.”
Kasi is a shortened township slang for a location or township. A location is an apartheid era terminology for a residential area but white people's areas were called suburbs. In Afrikaans, a location was called 'lokasie' where the name Kasi is derived and is a shortened form of the word lokasie and it is a township slang.