Kasi love between the covers

2011-02-26 14:20

I’ve always been a sucker for a good romance novel.

Even though I know that they always follow the same route: boy meets girl, they fall in love, then encounter obstacles in the way of true love, they split up and pine for each other, until they defy everything and end up together and live happily ever after.

The first thing that caught my interest about the new range of love stories released by the new romance imprint Sapphire Press, is that they are written by young South Africans – most are in their 20s – and the stories are set in familiar places.

I recently sampled a few: The Bridesmaid’s Lover by Tsire Mushoma, Wish Upon a Star by Fezile Cokile, Kwaito Love by Lauri Kubuitsile, Cherry Marbles by Shukie Nkosana and Love’s Courage by Mokopi Shale.

These kasi love stories will strike a chord with fans of local romance fiction.

Especially with those who enjoy reading about people meeting and falling in love at Park Station in Johannesburg.

Kubuitsile’s Kwaito Love is about a young girl working at a restaurant, while waiting to realise her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

What I liked most about the Sapphire series is that they reflect local traditions, lingo, trends, lifestyle and sociocultural issues, such as arranged marriages, polygamy, children who are raised by grandparents, inter-racial relationships, vat-en-sits (living together without being married), lobola negotiations, traditionalist men dating independent career women, and women dating future chiefs.

The authors are not shy to throw in some vernacular words where appropriate without losing non-vernac-speaking readers.

And, just like its Mills & Boon counterparts, Sapphire books stay clear of x-rated words and graphic descriptions of genitalia.

Unfortunately, the limited scope for words for private parts means that authors resort to ridiculous and embarrassing euphemisms like “long thing”, and the ever-popular “member”.

A paragraph from Wish Upon a Star reads: “He took off his briefs and she stared at his long thing, pulsating and hard as steel... he quickly opened (a condom) and expertly rolled it over his engine.”

Engine? Who calls a penis an engine? Clearly simply calling it a penis is just not sexy enough.

Descriptions of the female anatomy don’t fare any better: “firm heaving bosom” features along with “coffee-brown breasts”, “sensitive area” and most cringe-worthy of all: “moist dome of pleasure”.

Despite dodgy titles, the novels are quite enjoyable with easy-to-follow storylines.

They’re bound to be popular with young adults who still blush at the thought of calling a penis by its real name.

But the best part is books that don’t expect readers to go to a far-off place in order to meet the love of their lives, who always seems to be somewhere in America or Europe.

» If you think you have a good local love story to publish, contact ­sapphire@kwela.com or fax them on 021 406 3812

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