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Review: To quote myself

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Book: To quote myself
Author: Khaya Dlanga
Genre: Memoir
Published by: Pan Macmillan

If you are a South African and you are on twitter there is no way you would not know who Khaya Dlanga is.

Actually, many people don’t really know who he is but that he is some famous person on twitter whose tweets get a billion retweets.

Khaya Dlanga is, from social media, a funny guy who says controversial things. He is also a marketing guru of sorts.

His twitter bio reads: Struggling womaniser. Leader of the People’s Army Against Typo Nazi. Never eats black Jelly Babies.

A few years back I read his first book In my Arrogant Opinion with interest. Although in a subsequent review, I noted that it was not worth more than one blog post.

His columns though have always intrigued me and often I nod heavily in agreement to his arguments on race and privilege.

Based on his popularity on social media, there was no doubt that his second novel- a memoir as you were- would be a huge hit.

Hundreds of people have posted selfies with the book all over social media (he actually instructs readers to do so in the beginning of the book) and his book launch was trending on twitter.

But after having read the book- I am conflicted between liking the author as a person and disliking him immensely as a writer.

To Quote Myself is badly written. There I said it. Although I love books who do not conform rigidly to language, this book seems like a very rough first draft.

The paragraphs do not flow and the story telling is repetitious.

That aside, I like that he told a very simple story of his early life in the Eastern Cape and his life growing up to eventually become a sort after marketer.

The story was gripping but the jagged writing makes it a little difficult to read.

I think Khaya’s book is so popular because many of us who identify as black or previously disadvantaged can relate to some of his struggles.

It is definitely intriguing that a man who is deemed to be a pioneer in the marketing space slept on college desks and eventually dropped off.

To Quote Myself gives a sense of hope and shows that resilience does pay off. If only it was better written.

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