By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor
I met her for the first time in 2019, when she penned her much critically acclaimed book, with a telling title of Sex, Lies and Stellenbosch. We met at a boutique hotel in Melrose. I was late as I assumed that I knew my Johannesburg well, including all its features, such as boutique hotel and restaurants. But this one was deep in a residential neighbourhood where one could not expect a gem of such calibre. So after criss-crossing the streets in of this neighbourhood for a good half an hour trying to locate the venue for the interview I was going to do for Business Day newspaper. I eventually spotted this hotel, nestled in the middle of big houses whose streets are tree lined. I was relieved.
To be honest, I was not quite sure what to expect from my interviewee, as at that stage I had not even read the book. But the title lured me. Who would not be attracted to a book titled Sex, Lies and Stellenbosch.
And for their credit the publishers in their marketing notes had claimed that though it is a work of fiction, it is in fact based on the going on among high society in this close-knit community. And also remember among those who call Stellenbosch home are the really wealthy in white society, including founders of JSE listed companies and banks. And at the time there was that talk about Stellenbosch ‘Mafia’, a group of wealthy whites, awash with old money they made way back during the apartheid years and now are dominating the economy, their detractors, mainly those jealous of their wealth were charging at the time.
These claims were made mainly by the new rich aspiring to be wealthy as well, mainly black politicians and politically connected businessmen some of whom whose claim to being businesspeople is tied very much to the new political elite in post-apartheid South Africa.
And then at that very time, with these talks of Stellenbosch “Mafia’ occupying dinner table talk,, author Eva Mazza’s comes with Sex, Lies and Stellenbosch, claiming to unmask, the lies and sex secrets among the Stellenbosch ‘Mafia’ during darkness. Of course one would be interested.
I however would not want to spoil your reading craving by revealing what I found out in that book, besides to say, I looked forward to a follow up. She actually released a second book, apparently going deeper into the issues that she unravelled in the first book. Unfortunately I am yet to lay my hands on that one. Actually it is too late for me because there is new development around this theme as she is releasing a new final third book this coming Friday.
Sex, Lies & Alibis is the eagerly anticipated final book ofMazza’s deliciously steamy and shockingly scandalous trilogy that began with the runaway success of Sex, Lies and Stellenbosch, followed hot on the heels by Sex, Lies Declassified.
Sex, Lies & Alibis will be available in all good bookstores and online from Friday, 14 October.
At the time (2019), and like the book’s protagonist Jen, Mazza was on the cusp of fifty when she wrote her debut novel, Sex, Lies& Stellenbosch. Inspired by the scandalous goings-on in the seemingly upstanding community of Stellenbosch’s elite, Sex, Lies & Stellenbosch catapulted her onto the bestseller’s list in South Africa and is still a popular seller after three years.
“I was elated,” Mazza says, “but not entirely shocked. Being a busy woman, juggling career, children and family, plus living in angst-filled South Africa, I knew exactly what women (and men) would enjoy reading in their downtime. And adding a bit of sex to titillate wouldn’t do any harm.”
She continues; “Why should we continue to import this genre from overseas? The Sex-Lies series is exactly what South African readers were craving; relatable, fun, sexy, popular fiction. A beach-read, a plane-read, a before-bed read … whatever and whenever, with truly South African characters. Fiction that you’ll catch your hubby or boyfriend reading. What fun to write,” she adds, “and even more fun to read.”
Sex, Lies & Alibis is the final instalment in Mazza’s risqué sex trilogy and promises to be a fast-paced page-turner, especially for those readers wondering #WhatJenWouldDo
By the time we reunite with our heroine Jen, she’s discovered that happy endings don’t always come in the form of a man, no matter how good the sex or how exquisite the backdrop. Despite trying to escape her past by flitting off to Monte Carlo to refurbish a superyacht, circumstances beyond Jen’s control force her to confront the sex, lies and made-up alibis back home.
“Like the most addictive of Netflix series, Sex, Lies &Alibis, with its many unpredictable twists and turns, will reveal what finally happens to the cast from Stellenbosch, with their penchant for impropriety and unapologetic wealth. Sex, Lies& Alibis is the steamiest book you’ll read this summer,” state its publishers.
Who Mazza is
Born in Johannesburg, Mazza has been a resident of Stellenbosch for the past 25 years, teaching Drama.
In 2016, her hard-hitting and thought-provoking play Acceptance, starring Jerry Mofokeng, Lea Vivier, Lisa Derryn Overy and Francois Viljoen, was staged at the Joburg Theatre to critical acclaim.
Her stand-alone novel, Christine (published in 2021), has since been optioned by an international film producer.
.In the coming few days there are a number of launches taking place around the Country for Sex, Lies and Alibis.
JOHANNESBURG: Tuesday 18 October (in conversation with Pamela Power). STELLENBOSCH: Monday 24 October (in conversation with Bailey Georgiades) – this launch will also be in tandem with celebrating Eva’s birthday in her hometown.
CAPE TOWN: Tuesday 1 November (in conversation with Bailey Georgiades)