A Family Affair, the new novel by bestselling author Sue Nyathi, will be out from Pan Macmillan in October 2020!
‘A contemporary African saga that serves up all the ingredients: rags and riches, hero women, sex, the megachurch. And romance – so much romance!’—Karabo Kgoleng, writer, broadcaster, public speaker
Nyathi was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and raised and educated there. She has a Master’s Degree in Finance and worked for over five years as a research associate for an economic and strategic planning consulting firm in Johannesburg, where she currently resides. The Polygamist, her debut novel, was published in 2012. The Gold Diggers, her second book, was longlisted for the prestigious Dublin Literary Award as well as the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize.
‘Sue Nyathi is a powerful literary force. A Family Affair exquisitely captures the complexities of family, culture and the societal constructs that surround women. Eloquent, evocative and utterly engrossing.’—Desiree-Anne Martin, author of We Don’t Talk About It. Ever.
Read the excerpt:
The Other Half
The joyful voices follow Zandile as she gets into the car, the flowing train of her dress occupying its own space on the seat next to her. Yandisa goes back into the house and reappears armed with a vanity case in one hand and a bottle of champagne and long-stemmed glasses concealed in a gift bag in the other hand, away from the hawkish eyes of the matronly lot. Their oldest sister, Xoliswa, has already settled herself in the driver’s seat and Yandisa sits in the passenger seat next to her. Zandile is comfortably reclined in the backseat, relieved to be out of the limelight. Through the open window she spots their mother. Even though her face is shielded by a huge peach hat adorned with a big bow and dramatic feathers, she can see a lone tear streaming down her fat cheek but it still doesn’t obliterate the smile that fills her face and extends all the way to her gold-adorned ears.
‘Mom is so happy!’ says Zandile.
‘Of course she is. At least one of her daughters made it down the aisle,’ replies Yandisa flippantly.
‘Because marriage is such an achievement!’ pipes up Xoliswa, in a tone slightly shaded by sarcasm.
The weight of her remark is lost on Zandile whose face is lit up with a radiant smile. She is happy to be surrounded by her siblings on this auspicious day; it has been years since they have been all together, in one place, at the same time. She is appreciative that her wedding day has brought them all together. X, Y and Z. She is the last born of the daughters and arrived during the fruitful years when the family fortune had been secured. Her sisters were born in the barren years in the turbulent 1970s when their father was still trying to establish himself. Xoliswa made her debut into the world in 1972 and at that time their parents occupied a humble abode in the township of Makokoba. Yandisa had followed three years later and Zandile was born in 1978. Many agreed that the name Zandile was befitting because the absence of a male heir was conspicuous in the all-girls Mafu household. The expectation had always been that their mother would try for the proverbial male child but she never did. She was emphatic that nothing came after ‘z’ in the alphabet.
‘How are you feeling?’ asks Yandisa, taking her sister’s hand.
‘To be honest, I’m petrified!’ says Zandile.
She laughs nervously and feels her gut coil and unwind in slow motion. She has felt like this since she woke up that morning, nervous and happy all at the same time. Yandisa responds by pouring her some champagne in one of the long-stemmed glasses she brought in the gift bag. Zandile accepts the drink and gulps it down greedily.
‘I’ll have one too!’ says Yandisa.
‘You are on bridesmaid duty,’ scolds Xoliswa. ‘No drinking on the job!’
Yandisa sticks out her tongue and reaches for a glass anyway. Behind her back, they call Xoliswa ‘Deputy Mother’ because she’s always trying to whip them into line with her remonstrations.
The engine purrs to life and the car lurches forward as they begin the journey to the church.