We had Mohale Mashigo’s The Yearning as our book of the month for the month of July 2016. Dubbed as ‘unputdownable’ – I went in on it with much excitement.

By the time I started on this book, I was on record as having confessed that I hadn’t read in such along time. Well this book had me at the first sentence until the last.

The first part of this book was fully understood at the ending of it once one had read the entire book. “In our quiet denial, The Yearning devours us”. This line is what got me so engrossed in the book. Written simply by first time author and broken into five parts, each part is linked with the main character, Marubini’s current and past. This is what I looked forward to – piecing back the different parts of the past with the present. The past and the present are differentiated by the change of font between the current Marubini and her younger self.

This is a story of hope for the future, of dealing with heartbreak, loss, cultural roots, tradition and self discovery. Marubini is a 30 something year old woman, living an idyllic life in Cape Town with her friends and boyfriend, working a great marketing job in a wine farm. Until her past springs up to grapple her. Her father passed away when she was 8 years old leaving her heartbroken following a transition from being a regular man to following his calling to be a traditional healer. She begins getting ill and she finds herself having to go through a journey that her father whom she affectionately called Baba once had to take.

Mohale did a great job in describing everything that Marubini went through. The past and the present, love and loss, grief and complete happiness are described perfectly in this book. One is taken through Marubini’s coming of age through Mohale’s words so perfectly… The wisdom that comes from the older generation in the form on Marubini’s grandmother known as Nkgono in the story is amazing to read.

We are reminded that “it’s okay to be happy again. It’s okay to be hopeful.” Once the past and the truth has come out finally.

Such a delight to have read this. If you haven’t got the book yet – what are you waiting for?

– Omphile