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The Yearning

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  368 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Yearning (noun): A feeling of intense longing for something.
How long does it take for scars to heal? How long does it take for a scarred memory to fester and rise to the surface? For Marubini, the question is whether scars ever heal when you forget they are there to begin with. Marubini is a young woman who has an enviable life in Cape Town, working at a wine farm and spen
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 2016
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  368 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An intriguing tale woven by beads of twists and turns which kept me turning the pages.

Beautifully crafted prose meandering between Marubini and her present life in Cape Town. A life filled with wines, the ocean, food, Unathi, Pierre, Sim, frightening nightmares and unexplained seizures. Amidst all that, the persistent visits from her deceased father are relentless.

Going back home to Soweto to attend her cousin's wedding, the source of her nightly woes and fainting spells is revealed.

I loved the
Tumelo Moleleki
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book. I took my time and thought about some of what I was reading so that I could process it. Everything was so believable and so many surprises along the way. I only dream of writing this well and telling such stories with so much bravery. I am proud of this author even though I do not know her and she does not know me.

For me it is hard to talk about what the book is about without spoiling it for those still to discover it but believe me when I say that the story between th
Kojo Baffoe
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I should probably start off with a disclaimer. The author of this book is a friend. But, I would not actually write a review if I did not enjoy reading the book. It is easy to read but, more importantly, it has enough intrigue to it to keep you reading. I love that the context is firmly rooted in South Africa and not simply suburbia or poverty in the township but a more complex reality which is what South Africa, 22 years after democracy, is.

In a dialogue at the Johannesburg launch of the book,
I shouldn't have slept on this book because oh my word, what a book! ...more
Dajana Kuban
I have picked this book up in a second-hand book shop in Durban after seeing it listed in numerous “Best of South-African fiction”-lists. Not having anything else to read on our SA road trip, I bought it with the don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover mindset.

The narrative is centered around the main character Marubini, whose troubled past slowly starts to creep in and hunt her. She starts to yearn the truth about her origin, her upbringing, and her family. Although she is a “modern Capetonian”, to un
Malebo Sephodi
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Deliciously written. I loved the sex scenes to bits. Mohale's choice of words smooth into each other and you can't put it down until you finish. When you do put it down, you feel like the characters are a part of your life and so you are left with many questions. You can't wait to get back home to sit with the book. Totally unpredictable ending but I would have loved to see a more solid ending as it was a bit underwhelming given the strength of the entire book. A MUST READ! ...more
Sep 28, 2016 added it
– My mother died seven times before she gave birth to me. –

– A travelling woman always looks so beautiful. –

– How does one learn to be a woman? –

– I've always belonged only to myself. –

– His erect penis was not something new to me. It was a constant in our relationship. It was like a third party that didn't really need an invite. –
Zinhle Ngidi
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing

A very well written book that though it’s fiction, it is hard to accept it as such. A book that confirms that the past is always part of our present vs. Sometimes we are affected by things that are too deep that happened in our past. Some of our pain we bury and shelve so far in the back of our minds and move on with our lives. Unfortunately some of these things resurface and deal with us in a manner that we would not understand. The story of Marubini (Rubi), a girl that grew up in Soweto and Li
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The careful unfolding of the story of Marubini and the intricate weaving of her history left me spellbound. Mashigo leads us gently along a path allowing us to live with her characters as their story is revealed. I don't think an ending has ever been so perfect. It is outstanding. ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, african, favorites
"That day my Nkono sat me down and started telling me about the female anatomy and the changes that would take place in me. This was the conversation she had waited her whole life to have. A girl is like a seed; just the beginning stage of something big, something wonderful that will affect the whole world in ways unthought of, she told me. Many little girls grow up not knowing that they are the reason the world is still turning. Nkono could see that I was listening but not fully understanding; ...more
Magda w RPA
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this novel. It’s a nice mixture of poetic and ordinary and of the protagonist’s past and present. I think the author wrote about a number of themes that are both South African and universal. It’s a debut novel and I don’t think that Mashigo has shown her full set of writing skills yet so I’d be really keen to read more from her.
Lost in a Good Book
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
A novel filled with heart, dealing with family, cultural and wider social issues. Mashigo puts many of South Africa's dark challenges under the spotlight, but it's not a heavy read - she has a wonderfully light touch. There are some beautiful lines, and Ruby is a character I enjoyed spending time with. ...more
Blessing John
Apr 26, 2022 rated it really liked it
This book was quite the ride. It was filled with a lot of suspense and intrigue and at least half of my predictions were wrong.

I love Mohale’s writing and I am now more interested in reading her collection of short stories.
Sarah Makumbe
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The title ‘The Yearning’ left me intrigued throughout the book as I tried to make sense of what the author yearned for. Author takes you on many twists as the story explores themes of African culture, gender violence, politics and religion in a modern day South African story. I was a bit thrown by the flashbacks and was getting impatient with the change of setting and the back and forth. It was all a part of the plot!
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was captivated by the book from the begining all the way through to end. I loved how the auther changed scenes by changing font, took me about four parts to get with the programme but I eventually did. I took my time in reading the book, I learnt so much about some African culuters/practise that I dont entirely practise but it was eye opening. The twist and turn of events caught me. I loved this book
Atla Marie
The last page of this book is among the most beautiful I have ever read, hands down. <3
Vuvu Vena
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This was a captivating read!
Karina Szczurek
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
A story of pain and sharp edges, softly told.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c21st, south-africa
The Yearning, by Mohale Mashigo, winner of the 2016 University of Johannesburg Prize for South African Debut Writing, is an unusual novel. Because it explores the impacts of traditional healing techniques, it places the reader in the same position as the reader of Ali Alizadeh’s novel The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc: both novels depict mystical experiences and characters acting on spiritual beliefs that most people in the contemporary western world don’t believe in. But Alizadeh’s novel overtly ac ...more
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it

Marubini has everything going on for her in Cape Town, she has a well paying job, a partner that loves her and a good support system. She grew up believing she was different, she came in contact with strange things and you know how one’s childhood is the foundation of everything. Childhood influences a lot of things.

There were so new things that welcomed me in this book. There is a phase in Marubini’s life that her grandfather lives with her family. He cooks, stays and takes care of her while he
Muthoni Muiruri
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s been a while since I read a book that is so relatable, with characters that come to life, that I am able to identify with. This is one of those books. A book about love and friendship, that turns into something deeper and pulls you in, keeping you glued from start to finish.

Marubini is a 30 something year old (me) South African woman (not me) living in Cape Town (also not me). She has a good job, working in the marketing department at a Wine Farm. Her career is going great. She has one of t
Lauren Crow
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the debut novel by singer/songwriter Mohale Mashigo (better known as Black Porcelain). I got this book from Pan Macmillan SA and have also seen it recommended by a few ‘bookstagrammers’.

The back of this book was intriguing and odd, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The story follows the main character, Marubini (‘Rubi’), in her daily life living in Cape Town, South Africa. Rubi lives a good life, has a great job, a hot, caring boyfriend, and plenty going for her. The story also includes
Sisipho Bunyonyo
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Waited 3 years to read the book and my goodness it was worth it! Mohale is an amazing story teller who keeps you hooked and leaves you yearning for more. I did not want to put the book down once I started.
The first sentence literally locked me in. I love how she covers womanhood, family, relationships and spiritual gifts in a way that is easily understandable. Marubini is a modern women residing in Cape Town who still adores her hometown, has a successful career and a healthy relationship with
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: african-fiction
A beautiful book - gentle, evocative, haunting and thought-provoking. It starts off a little slowly, but in this way Mashigo builds up a context essential to the rest of the story. As the story progresses we gradually learn more about the main character, Rubi, and her father and grandmother. It is hard to say too much about this book without giving away the story - but it is beautifully written and hard to put down. (The only thing that really annoyed me about the book is the repeated grammatica ...more
Nappily Booked
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
From the streets of Soweto to de Villers wine estate boardrooms in Cape Town. Marubini is the first baby to survive from her mother’s pregnancies, hence the opening line “my mother died seven times before she gave birth to me. I am grateful for the corpse that somehow seemed to resurrect itself”. And her name, her grandmother believed she was a new beginning for those who lived long lives and needs respite, where the past lies, place of old from where they once came.

In the yearning, Mohale explo
Expat Panda
May 19, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: african-stories
An enigmatic and mysterious read balancing the modernity and traditional ways of South African cultures.

This is a unique story that tackles the after effects of unresolved trauma in a politically heated time, following the Soweto Uprising in 1976.

Like a pendulum, the novel swings back and forth between past and present, outlining Marubini’s childhood and adult relationships. Walking the fine line between a Zulu father and Sepedi mother, Marubini’s life story is complicated but heartwarming.

I e
Neo Mohapi
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written South African story, fiction, but yet so believable.
Mohale wrote so well. I absolutely loved the bits and pieces of the different languages she made use of, from French to Sepedi.
A story filled with lots of drama, love, laughter and shocking unpredictable outcomes.
I loved how I thought I knew what would happen, but yet it didn't.
I didn't enjoy the ending, I felt robbed. Thought there could've been more.

One thing that particularly stood out for me, was the theme of love!
It is
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written story of a woman with secrets revealed

The level of pain and suffering in this book was hidden under years of culture and tradition. When Baba is murdered Marubini life is changed forever. As she grows up and moves on with her life the past comes back to haunt her and her brother who seek the truth to save their souls. Political intrigue in this book puts a interesting slant to South Africa. Grandmother and grandfather play a huge role in this tale
Refiloe Mafubelu
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a very intriguing read. The book ebbs and flows so beautifully, etching out the story over the South African landscape. Marubini's story is touching and delicately told.
I really do think that the book ends prematurely, I would have loved it had the ending been fleshed out some.
Overall, a truly South African story exceptionally told.
Sipho Lukhele
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What I got from the book is wisdom and appreciated how Mohale put a spot light on cultural education. We need more people like Nkgono as her wisdom is rare. I loved how Marubini and her brother managed to the truth connect through his gift.

A beautiful book whose very last sentence leaves one with a lot of questions. A definite must read.
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