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Victor Dlamini

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Podcast: Zukiswa Wanner on The Madams

Zukiswa Wanner Zukiswa WannerJoin me on The Victor Dlamini Literary Podcast as I chat to Zukiswa Wanner, author of the novel, The Madams, a book that has ventured into uncharted literary space by creating South Africa’s first Black “madam” and White “maid”. I caught up with Zukiswa at the Newtown Cultural Precinct in Johannesburg, and in this enjoyable conversation Zukiswa reveals much of what inspired her to write the novel.

Zukiswa’s is undoubtedly one of the boldest new voices to have arrived on the South Africa literary scene, choosing as her debut subject that most peculiar aspect of South Africa’s socio-cultural reality, the absence of white women as domestic servants – or “domestics”, or “maids”, as they are sometimes called. Zukiswa conjures up just such a figure – serving in a black household. This role-reversing manipulation of “that great South African bourgeois accessory”, the maid, allows one to reflect on the stubbornness of our social practices, and their ability to cut to the quick of our past.

The MadamsZukiswa WannerThe Madams (Oshun Books, 2007) is a richly humorous novel, depicting as it does the unlikely alliances and friendships that are forged in surburban Johannesburg between its various women characters, black and white. By contrasting the loss of privilege that befalls Lauren with the rise in the fortunes of Nosizwe, Zukiswa debunks many of the myths that continue to fire the public imagination when it comes to the politics of wealth and privilege. Beneath her humour lurks the sense that the behaviour of her characters stems directly from old fault lines – not necessarily widening, but not necessarily closing, either – inherited by this new democracy.

Zukiswa was born in Lusaka, Zambia. Her father was in the ANC armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, and her mother was an exiled Zimbabwean. She grew up in Zimbabwe, before taking up journalism studies at Hawai’i Pacific University in Honolulu . Zukiswa lives in Johanesburg and she is busy writing a new novel.

Please listen to our conversation on The Victor Dlamini Literary Podcast:

  • Play now: use the widget links below, or click the link under Latest episodes in the sidebar on the right.
  • Visit feed: You can also play the podcast directly from its source feed; click here, then scroll to the bottom of the page (opens in new window).
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Recent comments:

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 2nd, 2007 @11:40 #
     
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    This is Victor's 20th podcast: a note of congratulations is definitely in order. Well done, Mr Dlamini!

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 2nd, 2007 @13:00 #
     
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    Yes, good work, Victor!

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