Monday, 9 October 2017


Unstoppable by Maria Sharapova

Bitch, please! I'm Khanyi Mbau by Lesley Mofokeng

Perspective by O Bolaji
My mind is often rather gregarious and arguably even weird – the latest in point is Maria Sharapova’s book which immediately somewhat reminded me of Khanyi Mbau’s book. Khanyi Mbau? Well, she is a celebrity in South Africa both for right and “wrong” reasons…  She is a still young socialite who over the years has acquired an infamous reputation as “gold-digger”, sex siren, iconoclast  etc…yet, the fact is also that she is a famous actress and tv presenter and celebrity in her own right too. 

Maria Sharapova is of course world famous for her exploits in tennis, and it also helps that she has rather pulchritudinous looks and build, and is a dream for sponsors and advertisers. In the western world, such books written by young celebrities is par for the course, but in Africa there is often suspicion in this regard. “How can a kid already write a book about themselves…what gives he/she the right to already pontificate about life?” is the usual attitude. 

Yet,  South Africa is streets ahead in this wise re, the book publishing industry in the continent; but still light years behind compared to the western world. As we have seen, books written by established authors often fly off the shelves overseas, and books churned out by celebrities – eg in sport, entertainment, can be bestsellers too. And the publishing industry is advanced to the extent that the media razzmatazz and bookshops and reading clubs/circle et al augment the haste and hurry. 

In Africa, for most people even the literate, the priority is just to survive not to see or read ever escalating expensive books. The middle class which used to gobble up books impressively in the past has been profoundly attenuated in our hapless continent (Africa). Yet the few who love books will always cherish new books and authors somehow. I have digressed a lot – as usual! – but the important thing is that both books I have in mind now, (Sharapova’s book, and Khanyi Mbau’s book) are biographies of sort, never mind ghost writers and egregious editors. Sharapova is a global celebrity, and for those in the know, Khanyi Mbau is a celebrity too (at least in South Africa). 

Both can be dubbed young women, one belonging to the western world, and the other Africa. As one would expect from women (and that is not being sexist!) a lot of emotions is involved in the works. Both authors – Khanyi in particular – are anxious to stress that they might not be as “bad” as painted; Khanyi even suggests she can be considered somewhat na├»ve in her early dealings with men. Whether many of her denizens in SA might take her comments with a pinch of salt hardly matters.

Sharapova, on her own part to her credit has always shown an aversion to scandal and even her private life is often protected with barbed wire. Hence, unlike Khanyi’s book – where she at least admits to be a bastion of “scandal” one way or the other -  Sharapova comes across as much more restrained and reserved. No wonder, the reading public overseas can only harp on her comments on Serena Williams, which I consider to be quite tame really. (Serena is far superior to Maria as far as the sport itself is concerned, so to call them “arch-rivals” might even be ludicrous. 

The point of view, perspective, of women in general literature can often illuminate and constitute disparate shards of enlightenment. Admittedly, I personally love reading about female celebrities, so I cherish these two books. (By the way Khanyi’s book is written in collaboration with Lesley Mofokeng, an SA media personality in his own right)


  1. A very interesting perspective, and true in all ramifications...this is impressive Notable one.

  2. The juxtaposition here, I think should arouse some literary interest.

  3. Very true enlightenment about these two well known figures. And they are both good and bad as it is a part of human beings life. I hope you will give more perspective about other ladies in sports and in the entertainment industry as well. Obrigado.

  4. Baie Dankie, Monghadi Thiba. Actually we expect young pundits and literary aficionados like you to beam the spotlight on such protagonists in entertainment etc; but in a manner that will advance pertinent literature
    Obrigado Ntate

    1. Thank you Malome. And i completely agree with you. With support of great one's like we will make it.

  5. Very true enlightenment about these two well known figures. And they are both good and bad as it is a part of human beings life. I hope you will give more perspective about other ladies in sports and in the entertainment industry as well. Obrigado.

  6. This is lovely. My only grouse is that I am a bit jealous, as I would have preferred to be the one to publish this piece first on my own blog (Assorted Book reviews)

  7. Hahaha there is no need for jealousy Monsieur Giwa; we have noted that Mr Bolaji regularly contributes reviews to your blog...

  8. I find it enlightening the way the writer points out how ravaged economies, and the problem of expensive books is hampering reading for leisure in Africa. Sadly reading is becoming a luxury now...since most of us struggle just to buy prescribed textbooks for our children these days

  9. Come to think of it, the title of Khanyi Mbau's book manages to be provocative, alluring, and enticing at the same time.