The Institutionalised Mindby Montle Moorosi / 26.01.2010
“Do you understand, do you understand, my dear sir, what it means when there is no longer anywhere to go? No! That you do not understand yet… And for a whole year I fulfilled my duties piously and sacredly and did not touch this” (he jabbed a finger at his bottle) – Fyodor Dostoevsky
The eagle has landed and its nest is covered in pigeon shit. Two months ago your amiable and not so humble narrator came face to face with his old time nemesis known as the Institution. I am a child of the institution, if you didn’t know, as a young man at the tender age of about 10 I was thrown into a boarding school which taught me how to become an animal to become a man. After boarding school I was thrown into University where I became a man by becoming an animal of words, lust, love, greed, envy, substance abuse and an intensified need to brainwash myself with what I was learning. After University I was thrown into a jail cell and as of late a mental clinic, the penultimate climax of my institutional lifestyle, The Ritz of mind fucking.
An institutional state of mind is not something rappers brag about in songs glorifying prison sentences, but rather a stream of life that meanders parallel to great rivers, polluting the ocean of human experience with blood, sweat, tears, shit, piss and saliva. The institution is not a place of rehabilitation or knowledge. It’s a formality, an obligation that comes with being described by the dominant social mores as an unguided misfit of a human being.
In boarding school I had many names, Montle Moorosi didn’t last for long, I was designated titles like, “piccanin”, “coon” and “kaffir” but strangely I was also called the “Nigger Elvis”, because I had a bright set of pyjamas. They gave me hard labour and made me put black shoe polish on my head when I shaved it in commemoration of my dead homies. They enforced corporal punishment until I was in Matric and of course the schools parish priest tried his best to fondle my nuts. Lucky for him I’m not into old white guys. My father was a fool, he gave them air tickets for their raffles and he even organised my gay history teacher a first class flight to Cape Town because he was so broke he lived his entire life on campus teaching lies about Shaka Zulu and describing the Khoisan as having, “pepper corn hair and large buttocks”. The old man wasn’t trying to hear it, I had to tear a page out of Gangstarr when Guru said, “Cause some nights I got so wild I almost died, some stuff I got into really scarred my mental, pops wasn’t trying to hear it cause what he been through”.
In University I was a student number, a faceless face amongst beautiful mares of literature and qualitative and quantitative research and tutors and lecturers who could never remember my face or my name and my ideas were like tinkles of pre-cum on a limp dick in front of an obese syphilis stricken whore. Inside the institution I grew to love scoundrels, thieves, bandits, junkies and all sorts of vermin the institution despises. They knew the truth about themselves and their circumstances and let me know I wasn’t much different from them, and this meant that the true definition of freedom is synonymous with alienation, suffering and downright uncensored loneliness. They say there’s no honour amongst thieves but this does not apply in an institution, the thieves believe in loyalty and honour. Their lives depend on this loyalty and honour amongst themselves, the victims, or patrons, of institutions. We never snitch on each other despite the one snitch that does all the snitching. We fight for each other and sometimes we even kill for each other when the circumstances call for it.
While I was in prison I feared being beaten and raped by a gang of dudes intent on fucking my life even more, but instead I found people who were just as sad and desperate as myself. People who just wanted to feel good by helping someone as they would appreciate being helped. On my first day in prison I was told, “don’t go to sleep now, otherwise you’re going to have a really long night.” We didn’t have a working shower in my cell so we helped each other to wash by pouring cold cups of water on our bodies. Some may see this as borderline gay, but I see it as the conviction that human beings can be really good assets when they realise that their existence is relegated to the pits.
Despite the institution’s assertions that they’re there for our own good we still somehow turn out to be repeat offenders. We make our own laws within the concrete walls. We fight for these laws and kill for them because they are all we have to govern ourselves. So if you’ve ever wondered why we hate snitches and authority now you know. We live under their jurisdiction, which has no place in our sovereign mentalities. And somehow they manage to infringe our freedoms and pollute our mental well being despite the atrocity of actually and physically imposing imprisonment in its many different forms. But we still keep living as examples of the fuck ups we are, the people your children do not look up to but end up being, because they do not understand how the institution works. It eats its own, like a king Cobra.
And now I work for the media which is an institution itself, we even go as far as to call ourselves the “fourth estate”. I am the institution as much as Jacob Zuma, Eugene De Kock and Mahendra Ragunath on SABC news, I tell people what to do whilst I let my tormentors fuel me with false ideals, unjustified punishments, unreliable judgements of character. Yes indeed my good sirs, I am the institution. I am the comma and I am the contents page.