Phumlani Pikoli: The Fatuous State of Severity

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“The Fatuous State of Severity – a mouthful for most – was a state of mind I had learned to occupy while recuperating from a depressive episode at a psychiatric clinic.” – Phumlani Pikoli

The Fatuous State of Severity is a debut collection of short stories written by Pikoli while he was recovering from depression in a psychiatric clinic. The book has stories about mental health and its effect on our lives, both directly and indirectly. The stories also explore themes surrounding the experiences of a generation of young, urban South Africans coping with the tensions of social media, language insecurities and relationships of various kinds.

Intense and provocative, this new edition of the book, which was first self-published in 2016, features six additional stories as well as an introductory essay on Phumlani Pikoli’s publishing journey.

This episode happened at the beginning of the year where Phumlani had his first exhibition at the Tomorrow Gallery. In the episode, we speak about mental health, social media, male intimacy in a familial context, relationship and suicide ideations. We also spoke about the exhibition and how it came to life and what conversations it will generate. We also touch on writers that inspire Pikoli.

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