Ginger Nuts of Horror
In true spirit to Johnny Clegg’s song: Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World, I opened my eyes to my surroundings and decided to convey what I saw and experienced to the world. It wasn’t an easy feat, especially seeing as mainstream publishers in South Africa are still preoccupied with publishing post-Apartheid literature, instead of realising the country’s already moved into its Pseudo-Modern Age. Or maybe they have realised and the government is simply slut-shaming them into publishing the things they want published? Who knows? It’s plausible, considering the SABC is already under pressure to report only what the government wants reported, so why not the publishers, too? Nevertheless, I didn’t want to write a post-Apartheid book—I never did—because regardless of what publishers think, South Africans are tired of living in the past. Or at least, they’re tired of living in South Africa’s past. The collective us want to move on; not to forget our history--never to forget—but to look toward a better future.
And so, Muti Nation was born.
Yes, Muti Nation is a crime thriller with a lot of horror elements thrown into the mix, but it’s also a story that showcases how traditional beliefs and modern society live side-by-side on a daily basis. It’s a book where racial tensions aren’t highlighted, because truthfully we’re all too busy paying off our President’s debt to hate one another. Where politics are incidental subplots, because politics are corrupt and simply exhausting, and there are enough books out there predicting that another shit storm is gathering on the horizon. Besides, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out our country is imperfect. Muti Nation is instead a book that stresses how misinformation is a killer, and shows how it branches off into all walks of life if not eradicated immediately. At the same time, I wanted to inspire a remembrance to victims of old kidnapping/murder cases. We always remember the killers, but the victims’ names often fade from our memories, and I feel that is absolutely awful. Muti Nation also explores, and attempts to rectify, a lot of propaganda about certain religious beliefs. It goes on to highlight our own Satanic Panic years in the 1990s, and how that fear-mongering still influences a lot of South Africans today. Furthermore, Muti Nation points a finger at the media and says: “It’s your fault for cultivating this hatred, because you’re not doing your job properly.”
But all these negative connotations of living in South Africa are inconsequential in many aspects, because South Africa is more than cruel people with murderous intentions, it’s more than crazy media and crazier politics … This country is utterly majestic once you open your eyes and actually look. The people are beautiful, always smiling and always ready to help one another, or talk, or just enjoy a beer with. Pretoria, the Jacaranda City, is gorgeous, even when the jacarandas aren’t in bloom. Even smoggy Johannesburg, with those tiny streets and oversized skyscrapers that gives you vertigo just by looking up at them, is beautiful! Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Upington, Durban, Beaufort Wes …
THIS COUNTRY IS HOME.
And home, no matter how many bad things have happened, is home.
As an author, I’ve tried my absolute best to show this love/hate relationship that a regular citizen might experience towards our country, too. Whether I’ve succeeded is a whole other matter, but I do hope that Muti Nation is an enjoyable read and a bit thought-provoking after the last page has been read. I hope that by sharing my cruel, crazy, beautiful country with the rest of the world they sit up and recognise we’re more than our tainted history, and although we don’t always conform to Western standards, we’re still working to a better future.
If that wordy explanation of Muti Nation doesn’t tickle the everyday horror aficionado’s fancy, then rest assured in the knowledge that muti-murders are real. Muti Nation might be fiction, but fiction usually has its roots in reality in one way or another.
ABOUT MONIQUE SNYMAN:
Monique Snyman lives in Pretoria, South Africa, with an adorable Chihuahua that keeps her company and a bloodthirsty lawyer who keeps her sane. She is a full-time author, part-time editor and in-between reviewer of all things entertaining. Her short fiction has been published in a number of small press anthologies, the Charming Incantations Series is published by Rainstorm Press, and she’s working hard on a couple of other novels in her spare time.
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