The Madams

Written by Segololo from the blog Bookworm on 27 Mar 2008
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As I attended the African Movie Academy Awards last week, I had no clue I would meet two amazing people that would embrace me into their lives. I will write an article about the event as soon as a fellow blogger sends me the pics to use for my article!

Anyways, we started talking about what we do for a living. The lady whom I will refer to as Lady D – she was sitting elegantly on the Moyo’s couch like royalty sipping her coffee, I was so envious I rushed over and introduced myself – is a scriptwriter. She gave me pointers on how to get myself on the Generations scriptwriters’ cycle so I can get all of them fired I can really explore my writing. The gentleman that eventually joined us, I will call him HateTV K – doesn’t like TV much and reads a lot – is a book promoter. I told them about my writing on TVSA and how I have a book blog – HateTV K simply knows his stuff as he told me about a book he recently read by Zukiswa Wanner that simply took his breath away. The way he explained the book, I was completely intrigued!

HateTV K and I share the same frustration of not finding great South African fictional novels that are relevant to our time. It is all good and well that most books South African Authors write are biographies, history, nature and the like books. You rarely find a book about South Africa that doesn’t dwell on our differences and apartheid. Please don’t get me wrong; it is great that we are trying to document our history and all! BUT aren’t we losing out on writing some true Mzansi stories beyond that difficult period of our history? Let's write about what is happening now, the effects of our past on those that did not see or live in that time. Maybe I should write a book (and quit trying to be a Generations scriptwriter) 

I rushed out the next morning to get myself a copy of the book The Madams by Zukiswa Wanner. This is Zukiswa’s first novel. She was born in Zambia to an exiled South African father and a Zimbabwean mother. She studied journalism in Hawaii and now works and lives in Johannesburg. 

The madams by Zukiswa Wanner

The book has all the makings of a great Mzansi story (even Generations could learn something from it). Thandi, the main character, is a working mother and wife who has conceded defeat to being “superslave at work, supermom to son and superslut to husband”. She now has realized that her home needs the assistance of a maid. Something she swore she would never do as she believes that a “woman should be able to care of herself and her own without bringing a stranger into the house”. However, she has set her mind on getting a white maid.

Her friends, Nosizwe and Lauren are as opposite as butter and soup but they get along because of Thandi and Ma. Lauren is Thandi’ white neighbour who is unaware that she is “racist” and truly believes she is British royalty. Nosizwe is an old college friend of Thandi’s from a snobby family that disapproves that she has married “akon” Vuyo. Vuyo is an ex-convict with 2 children (Vuyo 1 and Vuyo 2) – Nosizwe supports and lives with the 3 Vuyo’s. Ma is Nosizwe’s mother whom gets along like a house on fire with Lauren – Ma is Xhosa royalty descendant and Lauren is British royalty!

The reasons Thandi wants a maid are not really clear to her; it seems she just wants the white maid to ruffle Lauren’s feathers. What will Lauren’s reaction be? Will people, especially Lauren, be openminded to a black lady having a white maid? How has Msanzi moved from the apartheid mind to acceptance of such? However, the focus of the entire book is not just centered on Thandi’s search for a white maid; the book deals with all societal issues we are all currently faced with in Mzansi – infidelity, racism, babymama drama, gossip, physical and emotional abuse, traditions, cultural roles, HIV/AIDS, divorce, loxion gals, maid cultures and true friendship.

Except from the book ( Thandi and hubby are hosting hubby’s work partners and they are bashing her western ways)
And seeing my silence and hoping to bring another woman on board, Njeri turned to Lerato. “Don’t you think these men are ridiculous, Lerato?”
Lerato knowing where her bread is buttered (or to be more precise, who paid for her Hunter’s dry) mumbled ‘Umm, well. I think Chukwu is right” 
Njeri could not believe it. “Oh-ho. You think Chukwu is right? Exactly what do you do for a living, Lerato?”

The book description on the sleeve
Thandi loves her life. She loves her cute son Hintsa, her witty husband Mandla, her comfortably challenging work with the tourism board, and her best friends Nosizwe and Lauren. But she has to admit – it's tough being Superwoman in South Africa today. Try being the perfect traditional wife and African mother at home, the perfect promotable black woman at work, and the perfect foil for her 'Benetton' friends (one black and Xhosa, one white and English)! Thandi admits defeat and decides she needs that great South African bourgeois accessory: a maid. And since she doesn't have the heart to boss about a 'sister' in her own home, she decides it must be a white maid. Marita joining the household seems to disrupt the comfortable space Thandi, Siz and Lauren have settled into. The secrets of the three women's lives are dramatically exposed and they are forced to confront their assumptions about relationships, history and each other.

This book deserves to be marketed wildly and placed on Oprah’s book club about the NEW SOUTH AFRICA – MZANSI!!! I loved loved loved loved it! My rating is a high flying beeeeeg 5!!

Excellent read


27 Mar 2008 03:08

A great book indeed Segololo. I purchased and read it last year in September. What I loved about it was that I could relate to or understand  what Zukiswa was talking about (characters' lives) even though I don't live such life.

Bloggas go out there and buy the book, you won't put it down once you hv opened it.

27 Mar 2008 07:33

It is all good and well that most books South African Authors write are biographies, history, nature and the like books. You rarely find a book about South Africa that doesn’t dwell on our differences and apartheid

so, so annoyingly true! This is mostly true of black writers. I have found that you can get good fictional writing from some Coetzee guy (forgot his name) and sometimes Mda produces great writing.

You seldom find writing the likes of Graceland (don't remember who wrote it) or even light escapist reading from South African writers and if that isn't an open market for you to explore *hint*, then we'll never get out of the stories set in the apartheid era.

When we do finally meet, pls bring that book for Winnie's cause i am so low on cash i think i'll start buying books in the 2nd half of the year PLUS i've just rudely been told that i owe SARS money..can u frakking blv it?

sweetie my baby
27 Mar 2008 22:52

i'll defs check it out...hey, what about 'confessions of a gamler' i loved that one - read it, please Sego -t hey've actually made a movie of it - i've been invited to the premiere,wanna come along?

28 Mar 2008 00:36

Sounds soon as my days of being a student are over, i'll check it out!

28 Mar 2008 02:23

@ Toxic i've just rudely been told that i owe SARS money..can u frakking blv it?

welcome to my LIFE!

@Segolol= seems like an interesting read, must get a copy. you think exclusive books would have it?

28 Mar 2008 02:24

Sego=have you read Jodi Picoults my sisters keeper?>??

28 Mar 2008 02:37

AzHot: I got my copy from Exclusive Books

I have read it - need to write up a review for it... I have been reading so many books, I keep forgetting that I have a blog about it. I have read Second Glance and My Sister's keeper by Jodi Picoult, Man's search for meaning by Viktor L Frankl - and a couple of others as well! I'll write up as soon as possible 

Sweetie: I will never turn down any invite you send me unless I am in a hospital bed! Thank you, gal! Send it along! AND I will, check out the book as well!

01 Apr 2008 09:07

In my view, The Madams is one of the BESTEST books ever written, am looking forward to her second novel whic was said to be coming out this year some time.....and of cause my favourite part was when Siz caught the husband cheating...

02 Apr 2008 02:25

Ngqesta: Ooooh i loved that part so much! I was laughing out loud and hoping she beats the hell out of the "mistress"!!! Let's not give away too much of the book away! *wink wink*

02 Apr 2008 02:28

Sharp with you on that one. The book is a must read indeed.

02 Apr 2008 02:34

An oasis in the midst of obsession with bodily parts and functions......Refreshing

02 Apr 2008 02:41

Lepogo, i know i'm laughing at myself but that's a funny comment right there..LOL!

Zee Babes!
02 Apr 2008 02:49

@Sego - How much is the book?  I think dat South African writters, write more like you said thou,  they all want to write about where we come will be breathtaking to read about where we are or going.

02 Apr 2008 02:53

Zee: This book is more about where we are NOW!  It does bring up questions about where we want to go though... I think it was about R120.

Zee Babes!
02 Apr 2008 03:04

@Sego - Zee: This book is more about where we are NOW!  Lyk i said - it will be breathtaking to read a book abt where we are now.  Tx for the price.  Will share my thoughts afta I have laid my hands and eyes on it.

02 Apr 2008 03:05

Zee: ha ha ha! LMBAO!

25 Jun 2008 08:43

ntombi x
10 Aug 2010 14:30

Dear AzHot
Whenever my flight has been delayed, I spend my time at Exclusive Books and that's where I bought my copy of THE MADAMS. Easy reading, so truly Mzansi as we experience it today, no past hangups, a therapy from the Juju-induced depression. 
Have you read THE NANNY? Do please. Cant wait to put my hands on MY SISTER's Keeper. I sometime find it difficult to buy a book that has never been recommended by someone or that does not appear in a top 10 list somewhere. Thanks for all your recommendations

10 Aug 2010 14:42

I have read My Sister's Keeper and have seen the movie too. I cried till the end. That's all I can say, its very touching.

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