Telling authentic African love stories

2016-11-23 06:02
PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile Dudu Busani Dube (left) and Gugu Vidima.

PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile Dudu Busani Dube (left) and Gugu Vidima.

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I AM a Mbuba wife so when I got the opportunity to interview Dudu Busani-Dube, journalist and author of Hlomu the Wife, Zandile the Resolute and Naledi, I was beside myself with excitement.

I was introduced to Busani-Dube’s work in October 2015 by a friend who insistently suggested I get the books.

After reading extracts online from Hlomu the Wife– I was hooked and decided to get myself hard copies of all three.

The series is centred on eight Zulu brothers from Mbuba village in Greytown, who relocated to Johannesburg when they were young after their parents were killed in a mob justice attack during political violence in their area.

The books are relatable because they depict raw, African love stories, something not often told. All three are narrated by the women who encounter and fall in love with the bug-eyed, tall, dark and handsome Zulu brothers.

Though fictional, Busani-Dube has created a believable world for her characters and it’s no wonder her fan base of over 17 000 people on Facebook, who refer to themselves as “Mbuba Wives”, are smitten with the Zulu brothers, respectively.

Busani-Dube is currently in Pietermaritzburg for her book signings at Exclusive Books at Liberty Midlands Mall, and Mbuba wives have come to meet her and inquire about the release of book four, which she has been giving teasers of on her Facebook fan page.

So the first question I ask her is about the anticipated release of book four.

“I don’t know when book four will be out. I can’t commit to a date yet, but I can assure all the addicts that it will be available soon. I just don’t want to release it until I’m a 100% sure.”

She admits that it is still surreal to her that she has sold over 3 000 copies of the books.

“When I started writing the intention was not to be a bestseller, it was just me writing to rekindle my story-telling passion. The success of the books has exceeded my expectations and their popularity keeps growing each day.”

Originally from KwaMashu in Durban, Busani-Dube said her talent for creative writing was recognised by her high-school teacher, who challenged her to write a piece, which she said, made her famous at school.

She started working on her first book in 2015, from April to September and released a quarter of it on social media and through a blog.

“I didn’t have a storyline at first. I just let the characters lead me. The feedback was positive. I was bombarded with in-boxes on Facebook from people requesting the complete book. That was the go-ahead I needed to complete all three books.”

To protect her intellectual property and get all her dues she decided to go the self-publishing route.

“It was a decision I made because I wanted to do it on my own without anyone dictating to me how the storyline should go or limiting my creativity.

“I knew my target market and what I wanted to achieve with the books. At first it was very difficult and costly to do on my own, but I did it. Two years later it’s become much easier.”

All three books are written in the first person, which was done to “kill the space” between the reader and the character.

“I decided to write in the first person­ so the reader becomes the character. I wanted to kill that space of someone else narrating the story - it’s impersonal and disengages the reader.”

Busani-Dube said after the release of the fourth and last instalment she wants to take a break from writing to focus on business.

“I want to develop the business and see if there are other things worth publishing.

“I also want to focus on learning the ropes of the publishing business and make time to interact with my fans through seminars.”

The books are available at Exclusive Books at Liberty Midlands Mall, Book World at Cascades and Adams Book Sellers in Church Street.

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