A moving story set in New Hope township. The Mabuzas, whilst still affected and had barely recovered from the tragic and unexpected death of their father, are confronted with a blow of having to navigate through the terminal illness and subsequent passing of their first born daughter.The immediate family, middle child Anele, the aggrieved last born Mbuso and Ma, despite the loss of their pillars of strengths, are tasked to either sink or swim .

An excellent depiction of storytelling skill by Jele. The narration is free flowing, sad, with a sprinkle of humor. Rich in themes of love, family, friendship, terminal illness, survival, grief, poverty, teenage pregnancy, miscarriage , rape, divorce, primogeniture, infidelity, money, employers, secrets, suicide, forgiveness, post partum depression, miscarriage , alcoholism and setbacks.

Jele captured Black family life to the tee. The dodgy uncles, the sarcastic aunts, the neighbor who is virtually a part of the family, community, and our funerals. I loved how she does not spoon feed the reader and encourages participatory reading. No unnecessary padding, straight to the point, without taking away from the text. For instance on Page 21 “I woke up with a jerk an hour or so later, Fikile is dead”

Page 157 “a few weeks later, Thiza came to apologise. Ma told him to fokof”

What spoke to me the most from the book was that: We are all fallible. No family is perfect. Mothers are human too. We are all striving for the illusive perfection. Forgive while at it as you might need to be forgiven too at one point. And the most significant of all, that we got to be self forgiving.

The Jele of 2018 is more mature, self-assured and deliberate. She tackles heavy emotive themes without leaving the reader an emotional wreck. She managed to take me on a melancholic trip that inevitably is part of our lives and we have to confront at one point or the other.

Title: The Ones With Purpose
Author: Nozizwe Cynthia Jele
Publisher: Kwela (2018)
Genre: Fiction


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