by Mphutlane wa Bofelo
Aryan Kaganof is a writer who possesses the rare capability to capture grotesque and bleak scenes and moments in words of a lyrical and poetic beauty that land deep into the heart and mind of a reader like the melody of a serenading love song. In The Ballad of Sugar Moon and Coffin Deadly Aryan Kaganof comes out as a brave and seasoned craftsman who is unflinching in dismantling the barricade between prose and poetry and between a poem and a novel. He goes into the depths of the dark and light areas of the heart of a murderer and blows to dust the false securities of the high-tech and securocratic world. Like a sharp-knife his words cut into the veil of order and security supposedly provided by the institutions of the sate, the army and the police as well as sophisticated technology. He exposes the gaps and lapses in the strictures and structures that are supposed to keep humanity in order.
The Ballad of Sugar Moon and Coffin Deadly tells the story of the romance between Coffin Deadly and Sugar Moon and their romance with death. Coffin Deadly is addicted to killing for its sake, just for the thrill and spasm that goes with the shattering shout of his Glock 19 mm parabelllum pistol and the shocked ogle of victims and onlookers whom he tells in advance what he is up to. He meets Sugar Moon at the abortion clinic, seduced by the look of greedy surprise in her eyes as he pulled out a bankroll of R200 notes, and drawn closer to her by her thin rubber-like legs and the tightness that clutches him beyond control during intercourse. The turning point in Coffin Deadly’s life is when he is rewarded not with the promised millions of dollars and the expected heroic status but time in prison for killing the most wanted ‘terrorist’ in the world -Osama Bin Laden. To boot it all, this aesthetically progressive man who knows the inside-outs of Kwaito and listens to everything from opera music to house is bundled together in a cell with the crazy idiots of the Boeremag who cannot discern the poetics in Kwaito music. Inside he hears about the ill-fated death of Kwaito\Afro-Pop star Tebza of Mafikizolo fame and contemplates turning a new leaf.
Through the voice and deeds of Coffin Deadly- who personifies death and the death of conscience- Aryan Kaganof peers beneath the mask and veneer of civility and decorum to lay bare and open to the naked eye the frivolity and falsity of the li(f)e we live. Coffin Deadly commits his murders in broad-daylight, under the watchful eyes of the police and walking through the sophisticated vigilance of detectors and the security of digital cameras, electric fences and boom-gates. His potent weapon is being sincere and truthful about what he is, what he does and what drives him. All his killings and robberies are done under the public eye and yet he is the only audience of his actions. He provides the security guards, the police and the public with sincere answers of what he is up to and succinct clues that he is the murderer but they still do not get it. The only logical explanation of this is that society is too used to speaking and living a lie that it just cannot hear the voice that speaks about one real fact of life– death.