Wait for the right time… Take a time out for yourself. Not just a 5 minute breather, but a solid, cup of tea in hand, curled up under the blanket kind of time. You will need such time to delve into these stories. This book, like the spice it is named for, Saffron, embodies qualities of beauty, flavor and depth. It is the personal stories of 56 diverse Muslim women that are so resonant that many may be recognized as your very own.
Let me say how honored I am to be included among this group of brave, amazing and accomplished women and authors. In the writing space I am still finding my Shangrila, and some of these contributors are professional authors whose quality of work is what I aspire to. That my story has been included is testimony to how relatable this book is for not just Muslim women but for all women. The stories are curated by Dr Zaheera Jina who is also a contributor and the editor. Much thanks goes to her for the efforts in putting this together. All the proceeds for the sale of the book is going to the Caring Womens Forum and other deserving charities.
Saffron is the second in a series, the first of which is Riding the Samoosa Express, which was published in 2015. That Saffron was published a mere 3 years later is testimony to the wealth of stories in our community that need to be told. The stories in Saffron focus on real experiences – shared realities of life. Some of them are heart-wrenching and will have you gasping and needing to take a moment before you continue. Some are practical and loaded with life lessons and advice. But not all these stories are heavy and sad. Some are funny and light. They focus on the beauty of love and even the role of food in our daily doings. In fact, there’s a whole chapter on food and marriage, because lord knows, food is such an integral part of our Muslim lives.
In essence it is about understanding ourselves and our value as women. It is about empowering us to know who we are and the role we play in society at large. The first chapter opens with an essay by Saffiya Surtee titled “Living as Awliya”. Talk about a provocative opening. Her essay outlines the importance of being aware of your rights as a woman in Islam especially in relation to marriage. Too often we are muddled by love and convention to implement the rights afforded us as women. To draw up contacts and articulate our expectations. This alone is a must read for any young muslim woman about to enter into marriage.
There are practical tips and advice by women who have had their own experiences not dissimilar from what hundreds of other women have had, about in laws, self esteem, intimacy, baby making, parenting, cooking and more. I particularly enjoyed some of the stories about food… for obvious reasons I guess, haha.
The essay “Food in our Marriage” by Saaleha Idrees Bhamjee aptly describes the role of food in our lives. How inextricable it is from our daily machinations and how symbolic it is of our characters and relationships. Her essay is simply poetic and beautifully written. I found myself smiling through much of it as it reminded me of similarities in my own life and relationship with my husband. Safeera Kaka pays beautiful homage to the humble toasted cheese sandwich in her piece “Toasted Cheese Sandwiches”.
Other essays include intense accounts of marginalization within marriage. Brave women speak openly about intimacy, infertility and other subjects unjustly considered too taboo to speak about publicly. These accounts serve to make us realize we are so not alone. That hundreds of women walk these same paths and that we can learn from and support each other if we can find our voice.
Saffron is a book for all women. It will resonate with you more at varying times in your life. Such is the nature of the stories. There is something in there for everyone.
P.s. Pure coincidence, but I love how the cover of this book reflects the colours of my brand ?
I’m giving away 3 copies of Saffron to my readers. To stand a chance to win a copy, just comment below why you would want to read this book.
You have until 17 June to enter. You can also enter on Facebook or Twitter.
Only open to South African residents.
Can’t wait to win your copy? The book is available at various outlets and is currently retailing at R240. All proceeds go to charity. You can find it at:
Exclusive Books Century City
Exclusive Books Cape Town Domestic Departures
Exclusive Books Cavendish
The Book Lounge
Exclusive Books O.R. Tambo Domestic Departures
Exclusive Books Bedfordview
Exclusive Books Killarney
Exclusive Books Rosebank Mall
Exclusive Books Clearwater Mall
Exclusive Books Brooklyn, Pretoria
Exclusive Books Menlyn Park, Pretoria
African Flavour Books, Braamfontein
Exclusive Books I’langa Mall, Nelspruit
Exclusive Books Riverwalk Shopping Centre, Gaborone
Zarena, you are the lucky winner of a copy of Saffron! Congratulations!
Thanks to everyone who entered.