Deep in the south of Africa, a native village is nestled in the flatlands beyond the mountains. It is home to a group known as the Deruoloc People. They are the descendants of the natives who were exploited for their land, as well as slaves brought from neighbouring countries.
The Deruoloc People have been banished to this isolated village in the Mother City. They are ridiculed with imaginary boundary lines that are designed to keep them far away from the invaders’ offspring. Beaches and mountains, which were once in walking distance for their ancestors, are now encountered in temporary visits. Their visits are often policed, as they are always suspected of causing trouble with the invaders. A sense of “we are not wanted here” hits the Deruoloc’s conscience like the waves crashing the colonised shores. Nature is far out of reach.
Majority of land ownership lies in the hands of the exploiters. The Deruoloc People are stationed at their village for most of their lives. An overpopulated living space comprised of families who were forcibly removed from lush land. In a superior and greed-stricken race for power and land families are displaced because of their melanin. A labyrinth filled with natives trying to escape with their sanity. However, many discover along the way that there is no escape. The labyrinth is designed to keep the natives inside forever. Only a few actualise and learn that the only possible escape is through the consciousness of their mind.
The Deruoloc People speak with a curious, animated and passionate vibrancy. With chameleons for tongues, their style of speaking changes according to their environment. Unaware of the true origins of their vernacular, the Deruoloc People remain linguistically oppressed. They are forced to speak the purist exploiter’s language at the expense of disregarding the diverse richness of their dialect.
Natives smoke a special crystal through a glass globe in order to survive the daily struggles within the village. It provides a mental escape from the dehumanising conditions. Happiness and euphoria are the feelings many chase. With each puff of the white crystal, natives lose their sense of rational thinking. The power of the crystal destroys lives and relationships, and the Deruoloc People fall victim to delusions as well as the constant need to maintain the high.
They roam the village at night tweaking and searching for the next hit. The crystal causes the well – being of innocent community members to be at risk. Walking in the village, at night, is an unthinkable act. The fear of humans increases as the sun retires from the sky. The power of the crystal causes savage behaviour, as the need to obtain a trip to greener pastures triumphs love and respect for others.
A stone’s throw away from the village lies the Island for Misfits. There the people are ruled by numbers (6, 7 and 8), each faction with its own set of responsibilities. The 6s accumulate wealth through deception. The 7s are keepers of the law, revenge seekers - responsible for spilling blood when blood has been spilt amongst the three factions. The 8s are responsible for fighting on behalf of all factions for better conditions on the Island for Misfits. In this faction, sodomy is practised.
The ritual for boys, in the village, involves taking the life of another or stealing community members’ possessions. Basically, any means necessary to obtain a trip to the island. Mothers, wives and children cry tears of uncertainty. They remain in the village left to fend for themselves. When the boys arrive on the island, they are lured and tested by the generals of the factions. The boys have to prove their worth to the brotherhood. Belonging to a number keeps them protected. The disadvantage of this association is that there is no way out of the faction once they have gained acceptance.
Some remain on the island for the rest of their lives but many return to the village. Adorned with tattoos and scars from their stay on the island - they are now a number. They become invincible through their allegiance with the 6s, 7s or 8s. Catastrophic mental delusions that contribute to self–loathe and deathly violence in the Deruoloc community.
Although the factions are found on the Island for Misfits, its existence can be witnessed and felt in the village. A war for turf, which has roots in the number ensues in the village. The Deruoloc People are plagued with a strange weather condition; it rains bullets. There is no way of predicting this phenomenon. Sporadic bullet storms determine the degree of freedom felt by the natives.
Children are often caught in these storms and are forced to grow up paranoid of the slightest sound which resembles a gunshot. For children in the village, running for cover is the next basic life skill acquired after learning to walk.
Girls are raised secondary to their male counterparts. They are anointed with fears before they are baptised. Girls learn from an early age to keep their legs together. Neglecting to remember this practice could result in a disheartening scolding from an elder. They are made to believe that all their actions are drenched in sexual contexts. She becomes the disposable object in the tale of the boy discovering his manhood. She wears a fearless façade that is needed to navigate through the village. Deep down she buries any indication of weakness and fear.
Girls in the community face endangering situations, from the moment they are delivered from their mother's loins. Balancing the paranoia with legitimate anxieties - brewed in a cauldron of rape, domestic violence and catcalling - is a daily mental struggle for girls in the village. Isolated from discussing their daily experiences with others, they silently scream for help from the societal dangers that come with owning breasts.
The Deruoloc People occupy a labyrinth consumed with dehumanising conditions. A people divided amongst themselves with no idea of their real heritage. A synthetic culture has been brewed and forced on the native people. They begin to realise that their collective conscience is the only way to abolish the walls of the labyrinth. Through self-understanding and constructing the identity of the Deruoloc People, it is possible to emit love and respect for one another. Unity rooted in the knowledge of their ancestors and unmasked truths of why the labyrinth was established. They begin to see that their neighbour is not the enemy. The harm done upon each other has no benefit for the self. Standing in solidarity with one another breeds a conscious movement against the forces that suppress them. Self–worth replaces self–loathe. An important ingredient needed to manifest respect amongst the Deruoloc People.