Book Review: The Madams by Zukiswa Wanner


I love my life. 

I love my cute, smart-ass-five-year-old son, Hinsta. 

I love his witty, beer-gut-lugging father and my significant other, Mandla. 

I love my supportive, though sometimes misguided, girlfriends, Nosizwe and Lauren. 

I love my job with its business travel perks and the day-to-day challenge it offers on ‘how to look busy’. But, there are times… There are times like now when I get, to paraphrase The Unofficial Woman’s Handbook, sick and tired of being sick and tired. 

I’m tired to having to be a Superslave at the office and, a Supermom to my son and a Superslut to my man. I am tired of the fact that if I so much as indicate that I need ‘Me’ time, I have somehow fallen short of the high standards set for me as a modern woman. 

I am admitting defeat to my hectic schedule. I am giving in to something I thought I would never do. I’m going to hire a maid. 

Book Review

Title: The Madams

Author: Zukiswa Wanner

Category: Fiction 

‘The Madams,’ a story set in South Africa, Johannesburg, is a hilarious easy read about three women, Nosizwe, Lauren and Thandi, highlighting their families, marriages, careers and above all the relationship with their house-helps, thus the title, ‘The Madams’. 

Narrated by Thandi, the book tackles issues faced in the modern-day society. From adultery, to women after careers, and above all racism.

Thandi lets us into her busy life as a career woman and the daily home duties she has to meet as a wife and a mom back at home (refer to the blurb which also happens to be the prologue).

When she starts feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities that she has to meet on a daily basis, Thandi resorts to get a maid. And not just a maid, but a WHITE MAID in a bid to get back at her white friend, Lauren, who happens to be mistreating her black maid. Racism!

Her father is happy with the move! and when informed about this plan, he texts Thandi back saying, ‘Make sure she does the toilets.’ This just goes to show how much parents characters rub off on their children.

Misfortunes tend to follow these three friends, one after the other and one can’t help but sympathies with what they face in their marriages. I was thrown off the gutter when Thandi’s husband, Mandla, cheated on her with his ex. I mean why? But it get’s even more nasty when Thandi seeks revenge. Girl…., two wrongs don’t make it right (literally singing to Wycliffe Jean’s Two Wrongs song as I type this).  

On the flip side of these miseries, the author offers some humor that captures the reader’s attention from the fight and break-up of the three friends at some point, the unending drama of Nosizwe’s mother which makes you hate her but love her even more.

What stood out for me in this particular read is the fact that the author kicks off by giving a background check on the lives of the main characters, which makes it easier for the reader to flow with the story line. At no point did I have to stop and go back on previous chapters to refresh my memory.

However, the epilogue leaves you with questions on what becomes of Thandi’s marriage. Did she and Mandla finally sort out their misunderstandings? But just like her I also hope that all will be well between them.

The choice and use of words are beautifully woven making the book a page-turner, unputdownable, crisp read. You’ll love it from the prologue to the epilogue. And what’s more interesting, is the fact that the book offers you some Zulu language dictionary which you can have as your take home.

The Author had her birthday last month, on July 30th. I know am late but hey, am Kenyan and since we claim her as our own, let me seize the opportunity and wish her a Happy belated birthday!!

So Have you read Madams? What’s your take?


































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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