It is often said that the worst thing a human being can do is give in to temptations. Upon receiving this book, I was already in the middle of an interesting political book. I hardly put aside a book when I am yet to finish it. However, I need to admit that when I received this book, the title just made me break a pact I made a long time ago of not substituting a book for another. Boy oh boy, it was worth it to have given in on my temptation. Keletso Mopai’s collection of short stories titled If You Keep Digging, not only made me break my pact of many years, but made me finish a 172-page book in less than 48 hours.
This book is just unputdownable and it makes the reader ask for more, as I find myself pleading for the stories to continue upon finishing. In this book, Mopai narrates short stories that paint a vivid picture of South Africa’s socio-political issues. From poverty, gender-based violence, rape, colourism, mental awareness, racism and other issues that continue to dominate South Africa’s socials ills.
The scribe’s ability to bring up these issues in simplistic language makes this book an easy read, and very importantly, makes the reader see themselves in the characters who are carrying these different stories in this book. For example, I find myself resonating with the story of Lisakhanya and I know many black graduates who continue to be denied job opportunities, because of their skin colour and language will do too. Mopai’s stories are easy to connect with because they form part of our (black South Africans) daily lives in the so-called new South Africa that is free from legislated apartheid but still chained by the effects of that draconian system.
The chapters are kept very short and that works well to keep the reader’s attention intact throughout, hence it was so simple to finish the book within a couple of hours. I like how Mopai’s kept a female’s voice in almost all the stories throughout, because it is the majority of women, especially black women, who are at the receiving end of poverty, rape, violence and sexism in the new dispensation.
I can safely say that this is one book that successfully and truly narrates the daily struggles of many black women. The only bummer is that a reader will be left asking for more stories. However, besides that, this book is a positive contribution to South Africa’s literature and one that will resonate with so many South Africans of all races. A must-read indeed, and I am so looking forward for Mopai’s second offering. Her pen knows how to send one into temptation zone with no regrets.