Here is a list of books Zukiswa Wanner has written, contributed to, or edited since she started her literary career in 2006.

Novels

The Madams, Oshun Books, 2006. 

In which a middle-class black woman decides to hire a white maid, the book was shortlisted for the K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award.

Behind Every Successful Man, Kwela Books, 2008. 

  • Nobantu has everything a girl could dream of: a brilliant businessman for a husband, two cheeky but adorable children, and two of the best friends a girl could ask for. And yet, on Nobantu’s thirty-fifth birthday, surrounded by glitz, glamour, and fame, she realises something important. What has happened to her ambitions? Her career? What has happened to Nobantu? A funky, witty tale of a mother turned entrepreneur – to the great exasperation of Andile, her husband, and BEE tycoon.

    Men of the South, Kwela Books, 2010.

A fascinating novel about three men from three worlds. Mfundo the musician and dad, Mzi – gay, but married, and Tinaye a displaced Zimbabwean in South Africa. Shortlisted for the Herman Charles Bosman Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (Africa Region).

London Cape Town Joburg, Kwela Books, 2014

“1994. The world is about to change. The first truly democratic election in South Africa’s history is about to unite Nelson Mandela’s rainbow nation at the ballot box. And, across the world, those in exile, those who could not return home, those who would not return home, wait. Watch and wait … London. Martin O’Malley isn’t one of those watching and waiting. He is too busy trying to figure out if Germaine Spencer really is the girl for him and why his best friend is intent on ruining every relationship he gets involved in. And then . . . And then Germaine is pregnant and suddenly the world really has changed for Martin O’ Malley. South Africa. A land of opportunity. A place where where a young black man with an MSc from the London School of Economics could have it all, would have it all. But what does Martin O’Malley, London born and bred with an Irish surname, really know about his mother’s country? His motherland. A land he has never seen.” The novel won the K Sello Duiker Award.

Non-fiction

8115: A Prisoner’s Home with Alf Kumalo, Penguin, 2010

News photographer Alf Kumalo is also the Mandelas’ personal photographer, and he has been on hand over the past 50 years to record precious moments in the lives of Nelson and Winnie. His photographs capture Winnie wonderfully in all her roles – mother, wife, grandmother, banned person – and re-united with Nelson after his release from prison. The pictures of Nelson after his release are equally illuminating. This is a rare collection of beautiful photographs of two people living through and surviving the evils of apartheid. Wanner gives a succinct summary of their lives.

Maid in SA: 30 Ways to Leave Your Madam, Jacana, 2010.

It is a quirky, lighter look at one of South Africa’s most important, yet most overlooked, relationships: that between a domestic worker and her madam. In this book you’ll find the women in your life – your mothers, your sisters, your cousins, your friends and yourself.

Hardly Working: A Travel Memoir of Sorts, Black Letter Media, 2018.  


Zukiswa Wanner sets off on an adventure-filled road trip with her partner and son. Travelling through six borders, on busses and on the backs of trucks, Wanner celebrates the 10 years since her debut novel, The Madams, was published by having a reading in as many countries as possible.

Children’s books

Jama Loves Bananas, Jacana, 2013

Refilwe (an African retelling of “Rapunzel“), Jacana, 2014 

Zukiswa Wanner brings young readers a retelling of the classic fairy tale, Rapunzel, with a uniquely South African twist. Refilwe is the story of the dreadlocked beauty who is stuck in a cave on top of a mountain awaiting her prince, Tumi. This take on the classic tale will have the children chanting, “Refilwe, Refilwe let down your locks . . . So I can climb the scraggy rocks!” Based on the original version but reimagined for African children, the tale is enriched with magical illustrations by Tamsin Hinrichsen that will keep all children entranced and foster in them a love of reading.

Africa (A True Book: The Seven Continents), Children’s Press, 2019

As editor

Behind The Shadows. Contemporary Stories from Africa and Asia (2012) with Rohini Chowdhury.

An anthology of African and Asian short stories, born out of a meeting between Indian and South African writers, Rohini Chowdhury and Zukiswa Wanner.

Water Birds on The Lake Shore (2019)

In September 2018, the Goethe Institut announced a new project for writers of young adult fiction on the continent. The project called AfroYoungAdult, coordinated by publisher and novelist Zukiswa Wanner, aimed at shining a light on fiction for young adults, a demographic often ignored in writing circles.

Anthologies

66 Books: 21st Century Writers Speak to the King James Version Bible by The Bush Theatre. (2011)

Sixty-Six Books: 21st-century writers speak to the King James Bible: A Contemporary Response to the King James Bible

African Delights, Siphiwo Mahala (2013)

A unique literary journey through select critical moments in South African history, this collection of short stories opens in Sophiatown of the 1950s—one of the most definitive periods in South African urban culture—and concludes by exploring the social fabric of contemporary society. Simple yet profound, the stories span generations, demonstrating the painful rhythms of a society in distress in the 1980s through the eyes of a child as well as the transitional period of the 1990s through the life of young man torn between the old and new world, eventually exploring the first decade of South African democracy.

New Daughters of Africa edited by Margaret Busby (2019)

New Daughters of Africa: An international anthology of writing by women of African descent