Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso

Destined for greatness!

KWEZI – The remarkable story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo (Redi Tlhabi) December 31, 2017

Filed under: Book reviews — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 8:30 pm
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2017, Jonathan Ball Publishers,
ISBN: 978-1-86842-726-0, Pages: 248


When ‘No’ means something else…


The last one for 2017! Where do I even begin to put words together that make sense after reading such a book? Redi Tlhabi (a journalist of impeccable reputation) is exceptionally sensational in this book.  It is 22:18 on New Year’s Eve and I should be busy with my New Year’s Eve routine of taking stock and praying new plans through but I am feeling rather otherwise after completing this book.

I became increasingly angry with each page as narration after narration I was reminded about the gruesome violence experienced by women and children on a daily and how we just go on. So essentially, being human will be used against you if you are ever raped. Your sexual history will be laid bare for the whole world to see because being raped clearly has something to do with how many men you’ve slept with before and that as young as 6 or 13 you could be seen as a seductress. It is sadly obvious how much the burden and responsibility of rape is still skewed towards the victim. We are always taught and teach our daughters / sisters / nieces about how not to dress a particular way so as not to entice men, how not to move our hips in such a way that’s suggestive, how not to walk alone because some men might take advantage of us and see that as an invitation to rape us. The tips are well meaning and some even helpful because it’s apparently unfortunate that we have to take responsibility for the men who don’t know that they can’t take what’s not been given to them, that no doesn’t mean maybe, but no. We also have to bear the responsibility for men who aren’t ‘aware’ that they have ownership over their own sexual desires, and that like many other needs, this appetite can be tamed because we are not animals.  Ok, ok, ok the book…

So for those who may be reading this review and unaware of the story behind the book, short intro. The book is about a woman called Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo who accused the President of South Africa, (Deputy President at time of charge), Mr Jacob Zuma of rape. He on the other hand maintains that the sex was consensual and in 2006, he was acquitted of the charges. He became President of South Africa in 2009 while she, under a pseudonym  ‘Kwezi,’ sought refuge abroad and was once again thrust into life in exile just as her young life began.


Maybe I should rather do this review tomorrow so I can blow off some steam and welcome the New Year with a positive and hopeful outlook…

To be continued…


Buy the book here 




Misery loves company (Rene Gutteridge) December 30, 2017

2013, Tyndale House Publishers,
ISBN: 978-1-4143-4933-6, Pages: 338


Don’t tell me it’s terrifying, terrify me…

I will never forget these words. It is now 04:17 on 2017 December 30th as I write this from Gaborone, Botswana after having finished this book. Sleep will have to take place later because right now, I just have to get this review out of my system.


In short, this book, if you’re a lover of fiction writing – GET IT, TODAY. I have this habit of buying books by authors I have never heard of. Silently because I am sowing seeds of reciprocity. I do so again because there are so many good writers out there other than the ‘big names’ and we often don’t just venture into the unknown and you know? Take a chance at the unfamiliar.


The book starts a little strangely and a little unassuming but don’t you dare discard it because the rest of it is just pure class. The story follows a kidnapping that pendulums between good and evil where nothing is definitely as it seems. Juliet Belleno, a widow to a police officer, after being held hostage by her favourite author sends a whole town on a thrill of a chase that reveals things that all small and quiet town are known for – secrets and scandals.


There are two things Rene Gutteridge outdoes herself in with this book. The story is well told with just enough clues to keep you glued to the next page. The scary scenes are that – scary, the suspense – thrilling and the funny ones – hilarious. The second and my most favourite outstanding part of the book is the mastery of the banter or dialogues between the characters. This part of writing is often very difficult in fiction especially, but she has done this with such exceptional grandeur that plants you right in the middle of the scene. You feel like you know the characters personally, you breathe the terror, taste the blood and quite literally fall in love with words. She got the balance between the prose and the dialogues spot on but especially the words in the dialogues – phenomenal.


The downside I have about the book is with the sad scenes – these didn’t grip me as much. I didn’t quite feel the grief and emotions of people crying as much as I felt the fear and the joy spoken of earlier. The pages of the last chapter seems to have been just thrown in there for good measure but that’s just 2-pages short so don’t in any way take away from the story.


What a way to spend 2 days of my holiday! I loved this book.

Buy the book here…


Big Magic (Liz Gilbert)  August 1, 2017

Filed under: Book reviews,Life — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 6:49 am
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2016, Bloomsbury, Pages: 276

This book is fantastic!!!

It has been quite a long time since I’ve since read a book, especially a self-help one at that which has affected me like this one has. Creativity is frustrating territory and Liz Gilbert has managed to tackle the subject with so much ease while hitting the topic bulls-eye. You may recognize that name from her book, Eat, Pray Love unless you’re like me and only know the movie. She does not shy away from the grit, the excitement, the pain, passion, depression, joy and frustration etc of what creatives or artists go through in pursuit of their craft. This book has been pure bliss for me. It’s not a book I’d have ever thought of buying for myself, not in a million years. The title, subject matter, and the cover weren’t grabbing enough for me to even consider it. Thanks to my lovely friend, Denise Cook who bought this book for me as my farewell present. So many times over I’ve received words from various unrelated people telling me I have a story to tell. People saying God had given me, some dare say ‘talent’ and that I needed to write.

Well, writing has always been something I’ve always loved and wanted to do from as far back as I can remember and that I was going to do in future. I express myself in the written word far better than orally anyway. The seed for reading and writing was planted by my parents who are avid readers. As much as I agreed with the sentiments people had towards me about writing, somehow the way stories unfolded in my head didn’t translate as I had wanted them on paper. I’d read what I had written and then be discouraged by the flow / lack of and then completely abandon the idea because it was clear the book wouldn’t win a Pulitzer Prize. Liz addresses this pressure we put on ourselves so elaborately clear. This pressure can suppress our creativity and inspiration because when the goal is to write a number 1 New York best seller, although noble an ambition, the result can be that the process of writing offers no joy anymore which is why we do it in the first place. We create because it brings us joy and when we are joyful, we wish to share it with others. Another hot topic she challenges is one of leaning entirely on our creative abilities to create wealth. She says that if we expect to make a living out of our passions / areas of creativity, often times we put too much pressure on ourselves and our artistry and demand that it pay our bills and make us millionaires which can be a huge burden. I love how she practically shares how she got to write her first works while she worked as a waitress and other professions. It wasn’t after Eat, Pray, Love, her 4th book that she managed to be able to write full-time. If we become millionaires out of it, great, but sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. Unless it is something you love doing even without payment, maybe consider another profession. The journey of the creative artist is neither smooth nor easy. This book is honest and direct about this and is literally filled with many ‘Aha’ moments.

One of the reasons I have delayed to publish my first novel / anthology of short stories as planned is because as I grew older and read others’ work, I talked myself out of writing anything for public consumption. Instead of providing inspiration, others’ work brought torture and feelings of inadequacy. There was no way I could claim to write when the likes of Arundathi Royi, Fred Khumalo, Chinua Achebe, Nadine Gordimer and Liz Gilbert could write sentences that leave you literally gasping for air and questioning your own abilities, I thought. Needless to say, what this book did for me was give me permission to be free and to be me without the stress of wanting to be like another person or trying to emulate what another person has done. It has helped me embrace the uniqueness that is me and that just as one gets better by doing, I can’t hope to grow a muscle I refuse to exercise. Beyond talent comes discipline and the perseverance to continue to even during the dry spells.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to all creatives and artists. I am now finally going to finish my book and have it published – Finish and Klaar!

Buy the book here


The Wait (Devon Franklin & Meagan Good) March 31, 2017

Filed under: Book reviews,Love stories — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 6:18 pm
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2016, Howard Books,
ISBN: 978-1-5011-0529-6, Pages: 243

Courtesy of Itumeleng Sibiya who was generous enough to buy me this book as it was being released in the States, what a gem it’s been. I have absolutely loved reading this book. For a celebrity couple, practicing celibacy would be the last thing one would associate with Hollywood. The book has so many treasures and nuggets I literally underlined so many pages. One of my favorite chapters in the book was chapter 6 (What keeps men from waiting) as it gave me so much insight into how men process sex and dating. This was a great eye opener and gave me a bit of insight in my dealing with men in this area. Devon and Megan are honest about their journeys leading up to their marriage while being open about their mistakes. I’m a firm believer that people may love hearing about our successes but connect more with our weaknesses so I believe they did this well. The book chronicles how they met, how they courted, how Devon proposed and how they are now in marriage. They also share practical tips on how to make the daunting ‘waiting’ experience a pleasant and beneficial one and not one where one is almost like in a holding pattern waiting to be rescued. Some of their approaches and suggestions raised my eyebrows so I found myself having to be more open minded as long as it wasn’t contrary to the Word. As someone practicing celibacy, the book was a great help in helping me think through sex and dating as I consider the possibility of being in a relationship again. I recommend this book for all single ladies and gents out there. The book has succeeded in making celibacy fashionable again given the state of immediate self-gratification we seem to be swallowed in even in the church. It’s an easy read and reminds us all that God is still in the business of writing love stories.

Buy the book here…


117 Days (Ruth First) January 2, 2017

Filed under: Book reviews — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 6:59 pm
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An account of confinement and interrogation under the South African ninety-day detention law


Introduction by husband, Joe Slovo,
1998 (first published in 1965), Bloomsbury,
ISBN: 0-7475-0233-1, Pages: 144

In December 2015 I visited Robben Island with a friend, Selaelo Letsoalo and halfway through the tour we stopped at the little Island tuck-shop where people could buy snacks. I of course headed for the bookshelf and found this precious gem of a memoir. The book is only 144 pages and can be read in a day or two or three J. I was immediately drawn to the book because when I go to my parents’ home in Mabopane, I take an off ramp named ‘Ruth First’ and I had always wondered who she was since I never studied about her in history in school. I mean you have to be pretty awesome to have anything written or named after you right? So I figured she must be something, and quite something she was I soon discovered.

First, a petite summary about Ruth First
Ruth First was a journalist, an anti-apartheid activist, and a member of the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). She was one of the 156 defendants of the famous Treason Trial together with Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and others. Ruth First was the first non-black woman to be detained under the 90-day law of the apartheid times. This law empowered authorities to detain a person for a period of 90 days without a warrant, a charge, and a trial. Only she served more than 90 days as many others did; 117 days to be exact in isolation. She was married to Joe Slovo, another ANC stalwart and was killed by a letter bomb in Mozambique in the year 1982. Ruth and Joe had three daughters, Shawn, Robyn and Gillian Slovo. The book is Ruth’s Memoir of her time in prison during her 117 days of isolated imprisonment.

This book has made me appreciate freedom and democracy all over again. Things our parents and grandparents were exposed to under apartheid were just atrocious. I didn’t realize how many non-black people were involved in the struggle and this book introduced me to some of them. I took long to finish this book because I often paused to google names I had never heard of before.

So in a nutshell, the book chronicles Ruth First’s courageous, unapologetic defiance of the system of the time even under difficult conditions. She shares what she was exposed to, how she coped with the loneliness and fear, her relationship with the wardens, and basically how she kept herself sane away from her family and friends. Many ways of getting information from her by the security branch were tried but she never cracked. At times they would tell her that such and such a person had said a particular thing in order to get her to say what she knew regarding the happenings at the farm house but she stood her ground. The story is gripping, emotional and very personal.

The book also balances out the bold experiences where she stood her ground and commanded respect from her enemies during interrogation and also does not shy away from experiences where her emotions showed. When a shower was built in the prison bathroom on her request, I took my hat off for her – this is one of the parts in the book that has stuck to my mind – so much respect. On day 89 when she was released only to be rearrested, it exposed the ugly of the system and how much they played on people’s emotions and the abuse of power by the authorities. Freedom and equality for all at all costs – that was the goal, always overshadowing any kind of pain and torture for Ruth and many others who went through the same.

These people of old were made of sterner stuff. The resilience, the strength, the character, the politics and the history of the day are a rich come away in this book. My confidence is renewed and I appreciate my freedom all the more.

Read this book.  Buy the book here…


Selaelo Letsoalo and Moi — Dec 2015, Robben Island, Cape Town, South Africa










The 30th Candle (Angela Makholwa) September 15, 2015

Filed under: Book reviews — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 3:10 pm
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2009, Macmillan,
ISBN: 978-1-77010-356-6, Pages: 304

For my 10 and a half hour trip to Frankfurt, Germany, I took Angela Makholwa’s The 30th Candle for company. I read the first few pages and put the book down. It didn’t sound all too interesting. I then tucked into my dinner and paged through the entertainment menu on offer in case I couldn’t get into the book again. After failing to fall asleep, I decided to pick the book up again and give it another bash – and Ahoy! We were off!!!

The book chronicles the lives of four girlfriends and how they feel about turning the big 30! It is not easy for a writer to keep the authenticity of each individual characters but I think that’s one thing that Makholwa managed to do well in this book. Although the character Linda is more prominent, I think Makholwa managed to give each girl her own space to shine. She was able to give each character their own personality through and through. Just like in any group of more than two people, there are a number of cliques in this group which makes the story interesting as one unravels which cliques keeps which secret between them.

There is Linda who is the non-relationship committal workaholic TV producer type who seems to be this group’s glue as all have a relationship with her. Then there is Nolwazi who’s the closest to Linda, a fashion designer with a damming secret that threatens to break this group apart. Sade is a girl with an ugly past who has since turned a new leaf but keeps getting reminded of her past sins by her ‘perfect’ husband whom she has put on a pedestal until the most despicable thing is discovered about him. And then lastly there is the Psychologist Dikeledi who represents so many girls’ struggles with regards to decisions about men.

The girls go through a lot of challenges together and although they have a lot of instances that threaten to break their friendship apart, at the end of it all, they are there for one another. This is basically a story about a group of girls who survive life together and are real about what they feel which isn’t always common in the real world. So bar a few slow start pages, the rest of the book was captivating and graphic with lots of secrets and a lot of fun girl-talk.

I really enjoyed the book and will check out her other two books; Red Ink and Black Widow Society.

Buy the book here


Yo! I used to read A LOT June 3, 2015

Filed under: Book reviews — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 8:43 pm
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Source: bookwormsclub

Source: bookwormsclub

One thing about moving and having to deal with boxes is that it reminds you just how much junk you manage to hoard over the years but on the flip side, one also finds things long forgotten. Treasures if you may. This evening scrambling through one of the many boxes, I found this book where I used to list books I had finished reading in 2004. This was not even the whole list because I read ‘Postmortem’ by Patricia Cornwell in July after I had just moved to moved Cape Town and Chantal van Steijn introduced me to this awesome Writer. This means by mid 2004, I had already read 24 books.

List of books read by mid 2004

List of books read by mid 2004

Currently I am on about a book a month or a book in 2 months which I must improve on but with school and a demanding job, it is tricky. The trend will steadily improve though because some of you have asked that I do more book reviews.

FYI – I am currently reading ‘I write what I like’ by the legend, Steve Bantu Biko, courtesy of Dr Simon Tati Mangcwatywa. Don’t worry mate, I’ll look after your prized possession well. Biko? You may ask. Aren’t you too late in the century for that? You should have read that ages ago! I know…Bear with me here! My own 2015 ala ‘post-democracy’ review of the book will follow