Stay With Me – Ayobami Adebayo

One of my biggest fears around marriage was not the long-term commitment I would be facing, it was the thought of the in-laws I would end up with that made me shudder. That over-protective mother, the meddling aunts and worse, the sisters who would rip into me because I cannot cook to save my life.

Reading Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo played out my fears. For three agonising evenings, this couple (characters) invaded my lounge. Over a glass of wine, I listened to both sides of the story justifying their reckless actions. Femni explains how she felt betrayed, manipulated by her husband and in-laws. Her husband Akin thought that his actions would surely help and only make his wife happy. On our “last day” when trying to dissect this story, it dawned on me that both of them are at fault! Such a pity I cannot call them back and say “well hang on, actually you are both in the wrong and need to apologise to each other.”

I quite appreciated my marriage after reading Stay with me. Last December we were celebrating our paper anniversary. My in laws live far across the ocean and my parents live 1200 km away. We all chat over the phone and I’m grateful neither party interferes in our marital affairs. We do not have kids and have decided should  we not be able to have kids, we’ll adopt – an Indian or Chinese child just to mix it up. We are after all in a biracial relationship so why not.

Femni and Akin also loved each other very much, perhaps they were soul mates but they let family impose in their marriage. Without resorting to spoilers; Akin was not man enough to tell the love of his life the truth. He decided to play God, but when it didn’t suit him anymore he went mental. Femni, well I can understand her frustrations but that cannot justify infidelity. This love story is a tragedy, an unnecessary tragedy but shows why communication and trust is central in a relationship.

I applaud the author’s uncomplicated and easy writing style. She simply told a story that happens to many a couple. A sad reality for desperate couples finding themselves vulnerable to pressures of societal norms. A single story of love, grief and betrayal.

I cannot wait to hear reviews and opinions from single and married feminists and the men who claim culture and tradition. It will be interesting again to hear from the author. What drove her to courageously write on this topic? The book will hopefully come out in March this year. It will surely be one of the best reads for 2017.

5 stars from me!

Well done Ayobami 😉




Meet the Author: Kentse Badirwang

 This month on our Meet the Author feature, we speak to Kentse Badirwang. We spoke to the author on her debut as the new kid on the African Lit block.

Kattey’s Arrow is a story of a young girl who survived multiple rapes; multiple waves of abuse and setbacks. The story starts off with the uncertainty of hope, a continuous wrestling match of survival but ends with a glimpse of internal reconciliation, and forgiveness. Kattey does not at all assume to forgive and forget but lives through it all. Regaining her power, and her will to survive not only for herself but for her two sons.

For me as a reader, it represented courage, discipline, hope, and moreover victory. I mean how does one live to tell such a story? Only in movies, I think, except this happened to her, repeatedly!

The author awarded us her time to talk more about Kattey’s Arrow:

AAB: What inspired you to write Kattey’s Arrow?

My intention was to write a story to myself highlighting all the painful memories and experiences that broke my spirit over the years. What inspired me was the need to heal myself and the people who might have travelled difficult journeys in their lives. I kept a diary when I was a little girl and I remembered how writing always made me feel better.

AAB: How did you come up with the title?

Kattey was a name I used when I lived in Hillbrow and I came up with the Arrow to represent my spiritual understanding of my life journey.

AAB: I remember chatting with a friend about the book and we wondered what were the arrows you were talking about. 

I wanted a title that would reflect the main character in the book and give a reader an opportunity to figure out in their own view after reading the book what ‘the arrow’ could stand for.

AAB: How much of the book is realistic or fictional? Is it all based on your own life?

The entire book is a true story based on my life.

AAB: What was your favourite chapter to write and why?

Putting it on paper was a very painful experience. I wrote every chapter with tears and a lot of heartache. Even today I am still going through the healing process. I cannot, therefore, see any chapter as being a favorite but I pride myself in finishing the book. Closest to my heart though is the poems: ‘mama’ in chapter 5, ‘the seed’ in chapter 6, and ‘I am there’ in chapter 15 as they were written to express my love for my mother and my 2 sons.

AAB: How did publishing your first book change/affect you?

Publishing my 1st book was more than a dream come true. I believed in myself more.  I found the darkness that I have kept locked up deep inside my soul was now out it the open. I had found my internal peace. I am now free from emotional distress. A ‘healing achievement’ if I may call it that.

AAB: How long did the whole process take?

The process of writing the book took 2 years. One whole year of publishing; editing; layout and design; proofreading,  and then finally a complete 253 pages of my life wrapped up in a glow of hope. Amazing feeling. Before that, I had 6 years of rejection from publishing companies.

AAB: Your family is a big part of your story; did they support you on this artistic process?

My family supported me in the end when they realised there was no way I was going to give up my dream of a 9 to 5 job. I was in it for life. I am made up of words and to words, I was going to return.

AAB: Does this mean you see writing as a career now?

There’s is nothing more fulfilling than doing what you love, writing to me is a blessed form of art and a career path that I will carry.

Kentse Badirwang – Kattey’s Arrow

AAB: What are your current projects?

I have written and completed 2 books in Setswana. I want to embrace my Tswana language for our future generation as I feel our African languages are slowly dying and not being celebrated in writing. I am now busy with my 4th manuscript which I haven’t named yet. I am also involved in various campaigns which have objectives that are close to my heart i.e. girl child empowerment, victim empowerment programs, anti-rape and gender-based violence campaigns, and other initiatives which are focused on ensuring a girl child remains in school.

AAB: Any words to your readers and fans?

I would like to take this time to sincerely thank everyone who has read my book and supported my work. Being the new kid on the block, I did not expect such a great and amazing reception of my book. I was so stunned by all the reviews and feedback. To those who haven’t had a chance to read my book make sure you bless yourself with reading my journey as I know it will leave you with a new seed of hope and strength that will forever be with you. To my fans! Hahaaa do I have fans? If they are there, God is amazing. I love them with my ‘meet me at the river’ love, very rare and special. Thank you.

AAB: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us but wait, how can your fans (YES YOU DO HAVE FANS) get in touch with you?

Website :
eMail : [email protected], [email protected]
Facebook : Kentse Badirwang
ter :@KatteysArrow

Available at: Amazon, Smashwords,, Bridge Books 85 Commissioner St. Joburg, Ebenezer Book Store, shop 3 Victoria Street, Mafikeng

[button text=”Buy it now” size=”medium” icon=”icon-shopping-cart” link=””]