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Book Releases: Men of the South by ?Zukiswa Wanner

Posted on Tuesday, 28 June 2011 10:55

Zukiswa Wanner burst onto the South African literary scene five years ago with The Madams, a racy and hilarious take on the black economic empowerment crowd in Johannesburg.

In Men of the South, she moves to a more serious examination of black elite life. The story traces the crossed paths of four characters.

Mfundo is a struggling jazz musician with his eye on the prize. On the way there, he meets an old flame, Sli, a young doctor. They fall in love again, move in together and have a baby.

Mfundo retreats into house-husbandry. His township friend, Mzilikazi, takes a much clearer route to the top, gets married to a respectable woman and moves to Cape Town.

But he is a closet homosexual, a secret that Mfundo finds difficult to bear.

The third man in the unlikely trio is Tinaye, a Zimbabwean desperate for South African citizenship. Underpaid and overqualified, his way in is Grace, a South African girl. But he then meets Sli and everything changes.

Wanner’s story is a close, character-­driven examination of the difficulties of changing ideas of manhood in South Africa.

She tells it in a compelling, accessible way, reason enough for the judges to have shortlisted her for the Common­wealth Writers’ Prize for Africa.

NB Publishing

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