Book Review of Tears of the Weaver by Zaheera Jina Asvat



"Form (fabric or a fabric item) by interlacing long threads passing in one direction with others at a right angle to them."
That is just one of the meanings from the Oxford Dictionary that describes the word, "weave".


Tears of the Weaver by Zaheera Jina Asvat is a collection of ten short stories, where we are given a glimpse into the world of each "Weaver" and as suggested in the title - what makes them cry...

Tears of the Weaver is set in Lenasia, a township where South African Indians were expelled to, during the apartheid era.

Woven by the ones who feel like the world is on their shoulders, each story in Tears of the Weaver allows us entry into their home and the reason behind their tears.

Woes of the political, societal, and foreign nature - amongst others - falls heavy in each thread of this beautifully, but honestly woven fabric. This allows the reader to draw their own judgement with the unbiased narrating of the author.

Whilst I've had the privilege of being a contributor in one of the books that Zaheera Jina Asvat has edited - Saffron: A Collection of Personal Narratives, this is the first time that I have had the pleasure of reading a piece of literature exclusively written by her. In addition to this novel, Tears of the Weaver, Asvat is an author of Surprise! and a few case studies, she has edited 4 collections, as well as written and edited Riding the Samoosa Express. Apart from being an Author, Editor, Lecturer - amongst other titles - Asvat is the founder of the Jozi's Books and Blogs Festival (Jozis BBF), "a non-profit organisation that aims to cultivate a culture of reading and writing in South Africa through various literary events."

Through her initiatives, in literature and in events, Zaheera Jina Asvat is sharing the narrative of people whose stories need to be heard but are hardly ever told. The stories in Tears of the Weaver resonate with those who reside in Lenasia and other areas like it, as well as those who face similar challenges.

Although Tears of the Weaver is superbly crafted to allow us a peak into the window of each home, I would highly suggest you do not begin reading the first story at night!

Tears of the Weaver can be found at various literature retailers nationwide.

Update 22 March 2024: Tears of the Weaver has been shortlisted in the Best Fiction Short Stories Category at the HSS Awards. (National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences)



Here is the blurb of Tears of the Weaver (on the back cover of the book):

In ten superbly crafted stories, Zaheera Jina Asvat takes us into the private worlds of a rich variety of characters, revealing the complex weave of emotions often hidden behind the veneer of everyday lives.

The stories take a fresh look at conventions and roles governed by religion and culture, providing earthy portraits of people struggling with ongoing oppressions, in post-apartheid South Africa.

Bhajee's concern is a stolen electricity meter, which cannot be replaced because a fictional Mr Ka Ching Ching is the registered owner; and Suhail Mangel, a victim of xenophobia, fears that his family has cursed him. Shaazia cannot conceive, and is offered the option of a surrogate in the form of a second wife. Then there is the woman in Covid-19 lockdown trying to fathom her broken marriage; a family fighting for inheritance in the face of religious law; and a cat who brings gifts to her depressed owner.

These and other colourful characters linger as we identify with the paths they follow and the challenges they face -- distraught, jubilant and fragmented as the rest of us.


Title: Tears of the Weaver

Author: Zaheera Jina Asvat

Publisher: Modjaji Books is an award-winning Digital Media, Marketing, and Advertising Company est. 2015, is a Member of the Independent Media Association of South Africa (IMASA), and Brand South Africa's Play Your Part Ambassadors, with a global reach of over 10 million

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 #iloveza❤️🇿🇦 #AfterFajrGrind Accolades:

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Nabihah Plaatjes Accolades:

2023 CEO of the Independent Media Association of South Africa (IMASA)

2018 Contributing Author to SAFFRON: A Collection of Personal Narratives

2017 Recipient of Owami Women & Brand South Africa's Play Your Part Award

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2021 Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans: Arts, Entertainment, Film & Media 

2020 Contributing Author to There's a Story in Everyone

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