Happily ever after

2008-07-30 00:00

Zukiswa Wanner has written this second novel, Behind Every Successful Man with a very definite eye on her market. Her heroine, Nobantu, is the intelligent wife of a very rich businessman, Andile. Andile has risen to the top of the pile of Black Diamonds in Johannesburg, and he showers his wife with status symbols, especially at her lavish 35th birthday party, just to make sure everyone knows exactly how well he is doing. Nobantu has every material thing her heart desires, and she enjoys the designer labels she puts on her back and on her feet. But she’s not fulfilled. Looking after her two children with the help of an army of staff leaves her dissatisfied. The final crunch comes when her husband introduces her to a couple at her birthday bash as “just a housewife”. She didn’t get her degree just for this. She wants to branch out on her own and design an exclusive range of upmarket clothes for children, under her own label — Soweto Uprising. Andile, however, dismisses her dreams.

So Nobantu sets out to defy her husband. Taking her designs with her, she goes to stay with a sympathetic friend and sets up offices in the less salubrious side of town. Andile is shocked by the realisation that his wife has left him, and has to cope with the realities of child-rearing for the first time in his life. But the deep attraction between the couple keeps making itself felt. Like all chick-lit novels, they end up happily ever after.

Wanner, as I said earlier, has pitched this novel directly at her very specific market. It’s chick-lit-lite for the black market. I don’t have qualms defining this so specifically, just as Wanner has no qualms making remarks about how annoying whites are throughout her book.

Janet van Eeden

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