Book club, Lifestyle, Reviews

The Madams

Author: Zukiswa Wanner
Publication year: 2006
Genre: Fiction

Chick lit hasn’t always been my go to genre but I am always willing to try something new. This was a great read to dip my toes in with. I went in expecting to laugh and what a laugh but there were some heart wrenching moments.


When Thandi decides she’s done with being a super mom  to her five-year-old son, a Super slut to her man and a Superwoman to her staff at the tourism board. She realises she needs to concede to the great South African bourgeois accessory: a maid. And since she doesn’t have the heart to boss a ‘sister’ about in her own home – and would love to see the look on her best friends’ faces. It’s going to have to be a white maid. The arrival of the charming ex-con, Marita, catalyses a chain of events which forces Thandi and her two closest friends to confront their assumptions about relationships. Written in first person narrative. The story follows the friendship of three women in contemporary South Africa and the issues they encounter in their social, work, and romantic lives.

What I thought

Although this novel was published thirteen years ago, the story line is still very relevant in this day and age. I really enjoyed the group dynamics and the exploration of the characters and their growth. It is the very definition of chick-lit that has substance. What I enjoyed is that Zukiswa takes you behind the curtain of the life of madam and maid, you really get involved. I was expecting a chocolate cake but instead I got a three-tiered cake with one tier being chocolate, one tier carrot cake and the other red velvet. It’s a feel good read, with some laughter and tears but it makes you want to call your girls for a cup of tea, cake and catch up.

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About the author

Born to a South African father and a Zimbabwean mother in Lusaka, Zambia. Zukiswa Wanner is the author of the novels The Madams (2006), Behind Every Successful Man (2008), Men of the South (2010). SHe has also been shortlisted for the Commonwealth and Herman Charles Bosman Award  . Her two children’s books Jama Loves Bananas and Refilwe will be out in October this year. She is also a well versed essayist.



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