Social Media Icons

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Review: Period Pain by Kopano Matlwa

Period Pain 
by Kopano Matlwa

Publisher: Jocana Media
Publish Date: October 1, 2016
134 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Cultural (South Africa)

South Africa never was, nor ever will be the Rainbow Nation we believed Mandela dreamt about. But we’ve woken up and grown up and we’re trying to come to terms with this reality.

Kopano has also grown as a writer in the last few years. In Period Pain she has poignantly captured the heartache and confusion of so many South Africans who feel defeated by the litany of headline horrors; xenophobia, corrective rape, corruption and crime and for many the death sentence that is the public health nightmare. Where are we going, what have we become?

Period Pain helps us navigate our South Africa. We meet Masechaba, and through her story we are able to reflect, to question and to rediscover our humanity.

My Review:

A short but extremely powerful read.  Masechaba's story, while hard to read at times, is heart breaking and beautifully written.  The title itself lends to the main character's terrible menstrual pain and suffering (severe menorrhagia) which ultimately points her in the direction of becoming a doctor if only to help women later get hysterectomies that she was denied.  But it also lends to the period of pain Masechaba went through, shown in her diary entries.  

This story touches upon xenophobia, religion, immigration, assault, corruption and mental health but while we are dealing with so much harshness through her eyes, there is also a light of hope shimmering under.  It was really hard to be in her head at times.  It almost felt like I was invading on her privacy as I turned each page.  However, with all the heavy topics layered in this short novel, there is also levity.  Her relationship with Nyasha was a case of opposites attract and she certainly wasn't afraid to speak her mind and I loved that.  We certainly can't look past her relationship with God.  Bible verses are interspersed within the pages and the conversations held between them showed the "friendship" she felt while still questioning the why of everything happening. Though I will admit these were my least favorite moments to read.

The author gives us a very visceral view of Masechaba's life and you can feel every piece thrown at you.  The ending was a little flat and tied up in a pretty bow all things considered.  This isn't an easy read but if you choose to pick this up (and I think you should), then also look past the pain and find the humor and hope that's laced within.


1 comment: