One of the underlying themes of Mpe’s novel is that of urban violence. The acts of violence are pervasive throughout the book. Much like the film Tsotsi, crime and violence are prevalent, but not particularly discussed or explored in any contextualized way; it just exists. For the novice reader coming to this literature for the very first time, it is important to understand the history of violence in South Africa and how it was used as a major tool to oppress and subjugate a people. That history and culture of violence has manifested itself in numerous ways in contemporary post-apartheid South Africa. For Mpe, violence manifests itself through the crime occurring in Hillbrow. The author explores the tragedies of his young characters as the young people are crushed and devoured by the city. So, much of what Mpe writes is surely not fiction. The notion of the militarization of the city, the economic cleavages, and the poor living in desperate poverty — all are a representation of both a city and neighborhood in a post-apartheid society.