It is 5am on a Friday morning which means I have to get ready for work in an hour. My eyes are red and are going to be so for the majority of the day because I have not slept a wink after last night’s Piggy Boy’s Blues launch, a novel by Nakhane Touré which is the first book to be published under Thabiso Mahlape’s Blackbird Books. I started reading the book as soon as I got home.
At the launch…
City Press Lifestyle Editor Gugulethu Mhlungu (who I absolutely adore) facilitated a conversation with Nakhane regarding the novel, getting into his thought process when conceptualising the story and what influenced it. You can view my tweets from the event HERE for direct quotes from Nakhane himself. I unfortunately had to leave before the turn up, because employment.
The novel itself…
Piggy Boy’s Blues is not a memoire or biography even though some events may have been influenced by Nakhane’s life. At the launch he mentioned taking a decision to blatantly distance himself from the character. The story opens up with Davide M, the protagonist, waking up in his family home before delving into the history of the M.’s, a not-so-royal-anymore family. (Please read the prologue first. Trust me.)
The book follows the ups and downs that Davide’s return from Johannesburg brings along with him, distorting his uncle, Ndimphiwe’s life. I’ll stop here, but you can watch the below video of Nakhane reading an excerpt from the book while waiting to get your own copy.
The novel jumps from the present to the past and back again throughout, which I image could have confused me if I had not read Dalene Mathee’s Circles in a Forest back in high school. This is done to give context in terms of who the M’s are. Nakhane tackles all the ooh-let’s-not-go-there subjects such as Christianity versus (our idea of precolonial) African culture, sexuality, politics and even rape.
- I am happy and somewhat weirded out by how similar Nakhane and I are in the sense that we are musicians and writers. As if it is not enough that I have a couple crush on him and Chris, he goes and writes a hot song and writes a beautiful (albeit somewhat sombre) novel.
- I’ve been having conversations about what it means to be black in South Africa and what references or documentation there is about who we are. I find works like Piggy Boy’s Blues (for black people by black people) very necessary in keeping these conversations going.
Piggy Boy’s Blues is available at all good book stores and retails at a very worthy and irregrettable (I did not know this was not a real word until my PC underlined it in red) R200.
PS: Blackbird Books will be launching Panashe Chigumadzi’s Sweet Medicine on the 24th of this month. I have to be there!
PPS: I am clearing my schedule to make time to finish my own novel which I have beeeeeeen writing.