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The Madams

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Thandi loves her life. She loves her cute son Hintsa, her witty husband Mandla, her comfortably challenging work with the tourism board, and her best friends Nosizwe and Lauren. But she has to admit – its tough being Superwoman in South Africa today. Try being the perfect traditional wife and African mother at home, the perfect promotable black woman at work, and the ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 6th 2007 by Struik Publishers Pty Ltd (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
The Madams by Zukiswa Wanner

11 years ago I read this book. I was like, "Wowza, someone out there is talking to me. Talking about me doing this life thing!!". I attended its launch at Maponya Mall. The venue was packed, Mugg & Bean. The air electric. Zukiswa was engaging and available to the hordes of us in attendance. I loved the three friends and identified with their challenges. I laughed with them. Cried with them. Got sloshed with them.

Fast forward to 2018. New updated cover giving the book a fresher
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I first read this book ten years ago and I kept thinking,
"Why did Thandi employ a white person to be her domestic worker? Why? Why is she taking bread away from a black family just for show and to rattle her white friend and neighbour, Lauren, Lauren with her racist undertones?"

Lol I was so disturbed hey. Only now when I read it again did I kinda sorta forgive Thandi when she explained that,
"Not only does getting a maid make me feel bourgeois, but it also makes me feel like I am exploiting
I found this book delightful! I mean it is not much of a labor women's studies book if you are looking for something heavy in the labor area. This is why I liked this book because I like themes in my books being subtle. This book examines three South African women's lives, all madams, all women who work and employ maids.
This book demonstrated what it means to live in a society which heavily values class and race, and it also shows that they are not the same thing. At times the book takes the
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
interesting tales of the complicated, yet familiar family lives of three south african women. Their perspective on life, domestic life, marriage, and society is humorous. One would mistake their vain elaboration for feminine wiles but I dare say the author has successfully written a story of modern suburban life.
Oct 10, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Madams and maids
Mildly Confused by The Madams

(Why do you insist on provoking me?)

Dear Zukiswa,

I have white servants. They’re from Bulgaria and they’re mine two hours a week. They come in at 8.30, reduce our chaos to neat, little piles, clean around them, and then leave quietly. I don’t think either of them is sleeping with my wife, and I’m convinced neither of them (they’re a married couple) has any desire to sleep with me. However, if I were to impregnate Danica, I’m pretty sure my wife would not travel to
Linda Ogoti
Aug 25, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a good read. Zukiswa ventures into territory most african authors dont touch. writing in contemporary african context. we are all afraid (even those aspiring to be authors) to write our stories based on the surrounding we grew up in, mostly because our fore-runners write about traditional africa where civilization was unheard of.

I totally relate with her story. Thumbs up!!!
Jandy Kanini
Very funny already.
Hussaina Gambo
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am glad I read this book, after I had read her second, London, Capetown,Johannesburg. I would definitely have skipped it otherwise because the new book is so superior in every way. Sure there were traces of Zukiswa there and her style but on the whole, they are not even comparable.
My main problem with this story is how much the writer managed to create an unlikable protagonist(judging from the comments, for me). I hated her know- all attitude, it coloured the entire story for me. I will give
Zinhle Ngidi
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it

The Madams by Zukiswa Wanner

About the book
When one of the madams (3 middle class friends) decides to hire a white maid, an ex corn, it forces them to relook at issues like race, classs, relationships and broke barriers that were caused by apartheid. It also becomes a lesson to the 3 of them on how can madams and maid relate to one another as both parties need one another.

The book also covers issues of infidelity where we have seen some marriages break because of affairs between husbands and
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved reading this book!!! Very light-hearted and fin. You know it's been a great read when you spend some time after you've completed the book, wondering what's now going on with the characters' lives (characters the author has explicitly indicated were fictional). ...more
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: south-african
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 12, 2014 added it
- I am tired of having to be a Superslave at the office, a Supermom to my son and a Superslut to my man. I am tired of the fact that if I so much as indicate that I need 'Me' time, I have somehow fallen short of the high standards set for me as a modern woman. -

- Although she loves children, I do not quite understand why Lauren had four of her own. When she is reading a good book (which is more often than you know), she shuns motherly responsibility entirely and gives the children to her maid,
Sep 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
I don’t know much about South African culture and I was looking forward to getting a look into the lives of the three women who were the main characters. I wasn’t drawn into the story and I wasn’t able to connect with the characters or their situation at all. Unfortunately, this was a “Did Not Finish” for me.
Zookey .
Nov 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Zukiswa Wanner's Madams was my introduction to having a fond relationship with South African Chic-lit. I identified myself in this unique friendship outlined in the book and it made me laugh and ponder at the same time.
Smangele Belebesi
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Typical story of the "black madam" in modern day south africa.
James Olal
such an awesome writer
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
A really funny tale that definitely hits home. Rarely have I seen myself reflected in a book as clearly as this. Very accessible and an enjoyable read.
Samuel Muli
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Jul 03, 2019
Franzi Weh
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Feb 26, 2014
Nicky Ramarumo
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May 11, 2010
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zukiswa wanner 1 4 Aug 18, 2011 05:20PM  

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Born to a South African father and a Zimbabwean mother in Zambia, Zukiswa Wanner is the author of the novels The Madams (2006), Behind Every Successful Man (2008), Commonwealth and Herman Charles Bosman Award shortlisted Men of the South (2010). Her two children’s books Jama Loves Bananas and Refilwe will be out in October this year.

As an essayist she has written The Politics of Race, Class, and
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