New Book! Out now!

My latest book, Marrying Black Girls For Guys Who Aren’t Black, on MFBooks, is in bookshops right now.

Veterans of HagensHouse will recognise the title as coming from the blog post of the same name, which is in fact the most popular one on this site. Hence the book, mos.

The book, being 60 times longer, is about a lot more than just marrying black girls. It took an unexpected swerve into race relations, philosophical musings on losing your phone, the art of haggling, ukuteketis’umtwana, stopping dopping, umsebenzi, women’s fannies and how to dance like the guy from Jamiroquai.

So there’s a fair bit in there. Basically I’d been married to my beautiful black wife for a couple of years before I realized I was still a racist! Marrying Black Girls For Guys Who Aren’t Black describes my journey from being the whitest person this side of a Smokie concert to being slightly blacker, if not visibly so.

It combines anecdotes, rhymes, essays and freestyle political discourse, and charts a personal route to an integrated society in Unit 1, Sandown Court, Johannesburg. As the newly disenfranchised minority in my lounge, I like to think I’ve gained a fresh insight into the struggles of the oppressed.

Living with a gorgeous, militant black woman has helped this armchair liberal understand cultural and economic reality and also realize that while I can appreciate the kwaito-house works of Oskido and the later releases of Letta Mbulu, I will never enjoy Basketball Wives, Kenny Lattimore, or boiled tripe. The jury’s still out on umleqwa too.

Once you make your peace with skin colour, does race even exist? Or is culture what distinguishes us? What happens when a surfer/bungee-jumper/rock ‘n’ roll goofball hooks up with a black-diamond struggle veteran and shoe fetishist? For one thing, the Fanon, the Biko and the best of Nana Coyote DVDs must find space on the bookshelf next to Spud, Koos Kombuis, Learn Xhosa and The Bob Marley Songbook. But so too, must certain attitudes be set aside to accommodate new perspectives.

It’s hard to be a neoliberal hardliner when your partner’s real-life experience undermines all your prejudices. It’s cultural exchange over the TV remote; race relations in the contested space between the sink, the toaster and the microwave, as yet another mixed marriage cocks up the race debate.

So look out for this cover of distinctive awesomery, designed with skill and insight by  publicide. It’s in most decent South African bookshops, or here at kalahari.com.

Writer for television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Editor and writer of books. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). The last whitey at umsebenzi. Latest book 415 Action-Packed Neighbourhood Marketing Tips with Basil O'Hagan, out now. @hagenengler

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