Book Review: When A Man Cries!

June 3, 2010 by  

When a man cries- Siphiwo Mahala

9781869141318I 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!


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34 Comments on "Book Review: When A Man Cries!"

  1. soul sista on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 12:18 am 

    Thanks RAIN I feel tempted to get it but that will be like in moths to come.
    I like the review ;-)

  2. XtraLargePtyLTD on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 12:21 am 

    Sms- Live 2 to 39060 to Vote for Nkanyiso! #LivePresenterSearch

  3. Tweets that mention Book Review: When A Man Cries! | Just Curious -- on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 1:19 am 

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Aldecia Molaudzi, Just Curious. Just Curious said: Book Review: When A Man Cries! [...]

  4. Lela on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 1:21 am 

    Nice,i promise myself 2buy this one and afta that start buying more non christian books. Hay this is sad,always goin 2 cum books n i have a libary nw of only spiritual books. Lord help me 2b more open minded this year with the world cup right ima backyard. Mngcwi stru! im buying this book plus its about men n cheating.

  5. Bee on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 2:05 am 

    Well i don lyk reading but if i happen to i read Joyce Meyer phela um very spiritual. Alright now back to business to vote for Nandi please sms Live 1to 39090. Whatuup Xtralarge? Kwakwakwa

  6. lwandie on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 2:25 am 

    Nice review Rain,definitely one to keep in mind,I hope its not one of those highly stereotyping reads ……after “Dark Continent My Arse” came highly recommended by Sthe,I purchased it[yup J.C really needs to start claiming royalties from all these authors that you showcase!!],and whilst I totally loved it I found it hard to ignore how some of his potrayals of Africa and its people were heavily stereotyped.

    lol Hayi bo @ Bee no Xtralarge, whats with the graveyard hour Live campaign tendencies Sabotage 2.0!!

  7. soul sista on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 2:58 am 

    LOL, @lwandie what Bee & XtraLarge are doing is really sabotage at its best… just in the same way as Ras Dumisane was sabotaged.

  8. Maggs on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 5:37 am 

    I love african literature and your review makes it sounds like a must have. I have been reading ” things fall apart ” again and wanted to follow with “maru” just because i enjoy the books. I should get my hands on this one and keep in my collection too. I also wanted to collect books written sepedi because i have realised that i losing touch with my language and i hate that.

  9. soul sista on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 5:49 am 

    Lol Maggs and Things Fall Apart – it reminds me of my hey days… ages ago, used to enjoy it too.

  10. ugogal on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 6:25 am 

    Wow, thanks Rain – this certainly looks like a must have.
    Keep em coming cos it saves more time spending in the bookshop trying to figure out which book to buy.

  11. GodsBlessing on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 7:59 am 

    Thankx Mvula 4 a great review….am sure ngiyoyithenga emvakweziyanga ezibalekayo *lol* jst lyk @soulsista

  12. Groupie on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 8:21 am 

    Ta Nomvula! I want it, if its about how a man’s mind works!

  13. lwandie on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 9:13 am 

    looool @ soulsista Ras Dumisane’s sabotage was a classic,hehee I just had to watch his National Anthem disaster clip on youtube after reading your comment and had a huge kwaaa kwaa!!

  14. soul sista on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 9:43 am 

    Lolest @lwandie I liked how he emphasised it (that it was a sabotage)…. LOL I’ll have to check the clip again too, just have some fun.

  15. Sweet-Ash on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 9:56 am 

    I didn’t really think the book was my cup of tea [when it was showcased in Grahamstown last year] but after this review; I have to say I am tempted to buy it.

    I think I have also fallen inlove with the fact that the review is from a woman’s [call me sexist] perspective. Great review Rain.

  16. SZ on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 10:08 am 

    **Goes to the library to borrow the book**

  17. Luluwise on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 10:13 am 

    Great review, will go to Exclusive Books and check it out.I really need to make an effort and support local author.

  18. ntshepeng on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 11:05 am 


    it’s not really a book about how a man’s mind works but through his infidelity you get to realise some of the things that make men cheat. For instance, Themba mentions how his wife’s beauty was hidden in the rolls of fat (after 2 kids) but he also says how a schoolkid’s thighs have all the youth that his wife will never regain. And he says how, once he had ‘tasted’ the young girls, his appetite for them grew and lessened for his wife.

    The books talks about what success did to him and how all these girls became available so he didn’t have to do much chasing. Eish, get the book sisi.

  19. Gabz on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 11:08 am 

    Thank you for reviewing a south African book.

  20. Double Delicious on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 11:41 am 

    I’m not collecting African Fiction books, but I’m so gonna get this one, thanks for the great review!

  21. NthabiVD-K on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 12:25 pm 

    it makes a nice relaxed read..will have to get it. thanx 4da review 1nce mo

  22. Sslave on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 2:05 pm 

    “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!”

    I’ll start my toilet collection… It gets boring in there after sometime lol

    Great review RAIN I’m getting it

  23. shez on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 3:29 pm 

    Thanks rain,how much is the book just curious,lol dead at sobotage

  24. shez on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 3:34 pm 

    Sabotage eish,plz vote for nhle *A*s friend hides at BMS

  25. ntshepeng on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 4:40 pm 

    @shez it’s about one thirty something

  26. FunkyFK on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 8:11 pm 

    Thanks Rain – sounds like the book is very light and interesting. Will definitely buy.

  27. FunkyFK on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 8:11 pm 

    in fact Ntshepeng, can I please borrow yours? lol

  28. SugaBabe on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 10:37 pm 

    @ Ntshepeng, it’s like that, when one has tasted the sweeter fruit, one is more likely to want more of it(the school gal), and less of what one knows(wifey at home). I’m gonna get the book only to find out how this pans out, i.e. If he goes back to wifey or not… I know it’s gonna help me in this dilemma i’m in. Now if there’s a book that’s still needs to be written is: WHEN A WOMAN STOPS CRYING.

  29. Lela on Thu, 3rd Jun 2010 10:46 pm 

    Say it again SB nam I have something I wanna check out from this book.

  30. Brown Shuga on Fri, 4th Jun 2010 1:45 am 

    hehehe I also wanna read it.. Ntshepeng nkadime

  31. soul sista on Fri, 4th Jun 2010 1:54 am 

    Aowa bathong aboDarkie & hokadima!

  32. sk on Fri, 4th Jun 2010 11:08 am 

    Nice review Rain

    Ahhhhh @Shugababe m wit u on *Now if there’s a book that’s still needs to be written is: WHEN A WOMAN STOPS CRYING.*

  33. ntshepeng on Fri, 4th Jun 2010 3:54 pm 

    Folang line LOL!

  34. shosho2010 on Sun, 6th Jun 2010 7:26 pm 

    hahahah!!! How about u help me write it SB…Cause this girl is about to stop crying!!!

    I need to get my hands on this book

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