Lerato Tshabalala is the former editor of True Love magazine and published her first book, The Way I See It, in 2016. I first heard about the book via social media when people were expressing their disappointment in some of the comments she had made in the book about black people.
About two months after the noise around the book has died down, I was invited to a book club session hosted by Burgundy Fly and when I heard that she’d be there I made sure I attended. While attending the book club I still had not read the book but I found myself laughing because I could relate to some of the stories she was sharing from the book. One of the attendees then asked her about the comments she had written about black service providers and she explained that the comments were based on her experiences and her intention was not to generalise. I couldn’t fault her much because the book is called “The Way I See It” and it does have a disclaimer that it will offend. I have come across some great black service providers so the comments did not bother me.
A few months after attending that book club session with Burgundy Fly, we needed to select a book for our book club and one of the ladies suggested Lerato’s book and it become of book club read for the month.
The first section in the book is about social media – the stalking, the pressures it can bring to one’s life, DATA!, holidays, clothes or #OOTD etc. Social media certainly got me and the ladies talking, we could all relate to how much social media has changed our lives for the good and bad. One thing for sure is that it’s not going anywhere so it’s important that you define how you want to live your life and not be drowned in the expectations of the world.
The book also covers friendships, looking at friendships between males and female, having girlfriends, frenemies and the friend zone. The part that cracked me up is when she shares a story about an ex-boyfriend who had female friends. Even though women often have issues with their partners having female friends she had no issues with her boyfriends female friends because they were unattractive so she felt they were not a threat. To her surprise she later found out that he had been with one of them and of course that did not sit well with her. She also writes about relationships and shares stories about her high school sweet heart whom she dated for a couple of years. Things went south years after they had completed high school, she found herself growing in her career and he seemed to have remained stagnant. The stories she shares about this relationship are true experiences but you are sure to laugh.
Lerato goes on to write about language and education in South Africa. She shares her experiences of moving from a township to a Model C school. A lot of us at book club could relate to this section, we all know that your education can have a huge impact on your future and this is a challenge in a country like South Africa where there are huge gaps in the education system, making it difficult for those who are from disadvantaged backgrounds to have an equal chance of succeeding. We also spoke about language and how English is often used as a measure of one’s intelligence, which I think is crazy but unfortunately I have seen how some of the most intelligent people can be discounted because of their accent.
There is still much more that the book covers: Black service providers, domestic workers, situationships, transformation, ancestors and the legacy of apartheid.
This is book is definitely an easy read, I would recommend it to anyone who wants a book that covers real topics in a humorous way.