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Novel steers marriage controversy

Sukoluhle Sue Nyathi (34), a Zimbabwean writer based in South Africa, published her first novel titled The Polygamist last year.

Published by South Africa publisher Logogog, the publication, which explores the dynamics of modern day polygamy, has sparked an ongoing debate on social networks about modern day type of polygamy characterised by “small houses”.

Standardlife&style correspondent Sheryleen Masuku (SL&S) had a chat with Nyathi (SN) about the book and below are excerpts of the interview:

SL&S: First of all, who is Sue?
SN: Suku is actually a shortcut for Sukoluhle, which is a Ndebele name meaning, “Beautiful Day”. Becoming Sue happened because my third grade teacher, Mrs Olivier failed to pronounce my full name and so it’s a name that stuck with me.

SL&S: How many books have you written so far?
SN: I have written several books to date, many which remain in manuscript form. The Polygamist is my debut publication, so we could call it my first book. I am currently working on my next offering.

SL&S: What inspired you to write The Polygamist?
SN: The inspiration for the book came from a phenomena I had observed over several years, hence I coined a term for it; “underground” polygamy. We are not talking about President Jacob Zuma’s brand of polygamy which is culturally rooted and openly practised. The undercover kind of polygamy is shrouded in secrecy and fraught with lies. We live in a society where men purport to be monogamous yet they live polygamous lives.

SL&S: Can you give us a brief description of the book?
SN: The Polygamist is about four women whose lives become intertwined and entangled because of their love for the man called Jonasi. Joyce is the first wife who lives the “Desperate Housewife” dream. However, the dream becomes a nightmare when Matipa, an ambitious career-driven woman steps into Jonasi’s boardroom and eventually his bedroom, with intentions of initiating a hostile takeover.
Unknown to both women, is Essie, Jonasi’s childhood sweetheart who lingers in the background of his life but is at the foreground of most of his decisions. She has always been there and has no intentions of leaving.

unfazed by all these other women is the young and vivacious Lindani, who has nothing going for her except her beauty and body. Her life goal is to be upgraded from a whore to a housewife. And as the paths of these women collide, it has severe ramifications which will change their lives forever.

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