Book Review: When A Man Cries!
When a man cries- Siphiwo Mahala
I stumbled upon this book quite by accident. After reading Sthe’s book review on Gontse, I ran to exclusive books in the hope that I would find it. As you may have figured out already, I didn’t find the book but I was set on buying a book that day so I went over to the African fiction shelf and this book caught my attention.
The book tells a story about Themba Limba, an ordinary married man by all standards who starts out well on his way to success; as a teacher, acting principal and councilor and finally school principal. In his path to success he falls prey to the kind of temptation that awaits most men in the township and crashes hard from the top rung of the success ladder.
What I liked about this story is that it’s not set in Soweto (hay’kabi but most South African stories that have come out recently are about life in Soweto), it’s not preachy, it’s not about the struggle and thank goodness
there aren’t too many characters to remember. Siphiwo did a brilliant job of allowing his reader to get a glimpse into the inner workings of a man’s mind. As a female reader, I got to understand how men view relationships and affairs and it really is true: when a man cheats, it’s got nothing to do with you.
Through Themba’s infidelity, Siphiwo tells the tale of 4 other women (his wife Thuli, and mistresses). Although one woman’s story ends tragically, it becomes the catalyst that brings Themba back from his fall. I’m sorry if this comes out all cryptic, I don’t want to give out too much detail, niyabona mos. There are moments in the book where I was literally laughing out loud and that just speaks to the author’s ability to paint a picture in his reader’s mind.
This book also tells the story of township life, the effects of apartheid and a bit of history about South African politics. Don’t worry it doesn’t come out as a political read, it’s really information that we all know by now and it was inserted in the book as a way of setting the climate for some of the scenes. If you’re collecting African fiction (like I am), then you have to get this book, pronto!
The only thing I didn’t like about the book is the fact that Thuli’s story was shortchanged. I felt it was left to our imagination to create that story for her.
Oh one last thing I liked about this book is that it’s very light reading, you can read it on your way to work, in the toilet, on your break, during ad breaks….it doesn’t require much of your concentration!
By RAIN ©