At a tender age of 16 years-old, the protagonist Kgabalatsana Monare also known as TM, with the assistance of The Native Recruitment Company, travels from Dinokana village in the Bahurutsi district near Zeerust to seek employment in the gold mines of Johannesburg.
TM metamorphosises into a clever prone to rodomontade. He gallivants in the Alexandra township, Jo’burg CBD, Krugersdorp and King William’s Town. We are let in on his love affairs, his friendships, work, and his stint in the penitentiary. The most embarrassing was that he visited home once in more than 20 years. As a result, he missed both of his parents’ funerals. Eventually, TM realized that East, West, South and North, home is best.
The book broaches the emotive subject of internal migration, dual homes, apartheid geographical infrastructure, its impact on Black life, livelihood and family units. I was successfully transported to the contrasting rural and urban landscapes of 1960 to 1980. The modes of transport and communication, fashion, music, and manner of speaking. Jim Is Tired Of Joburg is a generous offering that contains history nuggets and effective lively dialogue.
The tsotsi taal, Setswana, IsiZulu, Afrikaans and Fanakalo, make the read textured and authentic. However, the English translations in brackets may be destructive to a reader who understands the said languages.
The book is also a story of love, heartbreak, friendship, family secrets, sibling rivalry, survival, shame, and regrets. The author, Mzuvukile Maqetuka hails from the Eastern Cape. He has published two books of photography titled, Impressions Of My Hometown initially published in (2012) and The Sahrawis: A photographic book on the Sahrawis Refugee Camps (2016). His two books of short stories are titled Children From Exile and Other Stories (2015), and Camdeboo Stories (2017).
In 2016, he published a biography of his grandparents, I Will Write This Story. Maqetuka also contributed to a book titled Black Tax edited by Niq Mhlongo.