His real name was Morokotso, but we called him "Rocks". I suspect it has to do with his misguided aspirations to be a township kleva propa. And that he ain't.
Dangerous he once was - he carried an Okapi pocket knife he was known to use ruthlessly at the slightest provocation. But kleva - neva.
One day when I called him by his real name in public, he summoned me aside and gave me a stern warning to "never, never, ever call me by that name again. Do you get me?"
I got him. He did not have to spell it out, but it was clear that defiance meant I might earn myself a hole or two from his Okapi.
Morokotso is what you could call "'n moegoe met 'nclever se gesig". If he kept his mouth shut, you could be convinced he was the smart, streetwise operator he presented.
Rocks is an institution in his community. They now call him "Komkyk". I don't think he likes it, but he has lost all his bite - Okapi and all.
His is a bizarre tale.
We met at secondary school where he was addicted to Gold Dollar and Lexington cigarettes, which even grown men then thought were "too strong".
The last time I met my mate was when we were both guests at a poolside party a few years back, where he binged on free booze and drank himself motherless. He is no longer a kid. He is still scrawny, but his torso has begun to resemble a question mark.
As he got sozzled, someone warned him to be careful not to fall into the pool and drown. His defiant, spontaneous and kneejerk response was to jump into the pool.
He was only kept afloat by his Hector Powe jacket, which miraculously acted like some kind of parachute for him. Otherwise he would have sunk like a stone.
When he was finally helped out of the pool, he swaggered around breathlessly, bragging nevertheless that he had proved a point.
I hear that Rocks is now working for an undertaker in the Vaal. Those who have come across him relate how he often jars all and sundry showing off the corpses in his mortuary van.
A typical situation is that Rocks parks his van, gets into a shebeen and gets drunk. When he runs out of funds, he plays his best ace: "Do you know Sbongile Hlatshwayo?"
"Yes. What about her?"
"She is dead."
"Kom kyk," he normally says, leading a would-be benefactor to the back of the van outside where he lifts the plastic covering a body.
"Daar is o'Sbongile."
Several people have told me similar stories of Rocks stopping them in the street, asking them if they know so-and-so, then opening the back of his van to show them the person - dead.
After that the shiv: "Maak 'n plan. Net two."
Some township folk have begun to call him Komkyk - and it all makes sense.