Domestic worker causes a Twitter storm with fictional debut novel

Siphetheni Ncube's book is in high demand. /SANDILE NDLOVU
Siphetheni Ncube's book is in high demand. /SANDILE NDLOVU

A Johannesburg domestic worker has written a book inspired by her life.

Siphetheni Ncube, of Hillbrow, has gone viral after her employer posted a picture of her fiction book, Ngoneni, on Twitter.

Ncube, who is originally from Zimbabwe and has three daughters, said she always had a talent for writing.

Her book is loosely based on her experience in Zimbabwe as well as those of other women from the country.

"Many women in Zimbabwe are suffering," she said.

"I wrote this book in Ndebele so that they could be inspired by my story and the story of other women.

"This is why Ngoneni borrows from my experiences and of other women I know."

Ncube became an orphan in Grade 8 and had to drop out of school in order to survive.

"I wanted to become a doctor but I had to leave school."

Ncube added that she wrote her book in Ndebele because of the lack of availability of indigenous writing.

"It is a matter of pride in my language," she said.

Ncube said it was important for people who cannot read and write in English to have access to literature that is in their mother tongue.

This is why she is a part of a group of women in Hillbrow called Izimpande Zomdabuko, who come together to support each other's writing.

"That's how I was able to publish my book. We are self-funded and assist each other," she said.

The group also has drama activities and co-writes stories and books to help express their different experiences.

The social media attention her book has received has had a positive impact on demand for the book.

"My old school friend, who is now the vice-principal of the primary school we attended, called me to order a few of my books," she said.

Her employer, Siphesihle Vazi, a presenter on Selimathunzi, who is assisting her in promoting her book, said there was now a backlog in the printing of her book because they had not expected to receive so many orders.

"I was getting messages from people who are interested in the book and we've been sending two or three books back to Zimbabwe a week," he said.

Ncube said her dream was to become a successful writer "... to provide a better future for my daughters. I'm working hard for them."