Page 50 - July 2021 Litterateur
P. 50

The  novella  is  told  from  the  point  of  view  of  SekaBuhle:  the  aggrieved  male  character.  He

                   gives personal insights into what goes on in the venues where they indulge in beer. He gives
                   an unbiased view of his wife. It is contextually and culturally stimulating that Muzi is referred
                   to as SekaBuhle, which plainly means  The father of Buhle . By the same token, Thola is
                   referred to as NakaBuhle, which literally means  The mother of Buhle . The author also uses

                   another  interesting  and  cautions  style  of  writing:  the  naming  of  characters  such  that  their
                   names have meanings. Sibanda makes use of antonomasia , which is a kind of metonym in
                   which an epithet or phrase takes the place of a proper name such as  Shut Up --qualifies to
                   be called my chum  or  Hi Queen of his eyes .


                   Thulani who is supposed to be the 'quiet one ' as his name suggests-- is a chatterbox who
                   considers himself a distinguished scholar on the female specie until he is heavily humbled in
                   a twist of the tale, at the end of the novella. His beating surprises the reader as he projects an

                   image of a man who can never lose to women. The writer also uses symbolism and caricature
                   to capture pertinent themes. His description of characters and scenes is concise and vivid.
                   Each chapter is fittingly titled and descriptive of what will unfold in that particular subdivision
                   or episode. For instance, the final chapter is entitled, ' In tatters '. The word ' tatters ' is a pun.

                   Thulani and her girlfriend are beaten to tatters while the reader is also made to laugh at this
                   stark  revelation  that  Thulani  is  not  after  all  the  invincible  specialist  he  claims  to  be.  His
                   girlfriend  who  is  touted  as  an  eagle  and  the  crème  de  la  crème  of  romance,  power  and
                   intelligence feels the  taste  of wing-clipping. Her skimpy dress is left in shreds.


                   Reading  Cabinet  Meetings,  I  was  taken  by  the  humorous  presentation  of  characters.  Each
                   character-- from the old politician to NakaBuhle --is larger than life. Marital woes are presented
                   more as a figment of a woman's imagination than as a reality. However the bold women in the

                   form of NakaBuhle and Thulani's wife are also a pleasure to consider. One proverb of ancient
                   origin  that  says  when  an  organisation  or  state  fails,  it  is  the  leadership  that  is  the  root
                   cause comes to the mind. The proverb goes:  A fish rots from the head down . To this end,
                   the  book  also  exposes  how  society  is  generally  rotten  from  state  governance  to  industrial

                   paralysis and down to the privacy of a variety of institutions and the institution of marriage
                   itself.  A society with ridiculously high levels of unemployment, social disparities and poverty
                   is a socio-economic disaster in waiting. Corruption has left the country in shreds.  Cabinet
                   Meetings was considered for the Graywolf Press Africa Prize 2018.




                           Banqobile Virginia Dakamela, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe












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