Kwela Books, 2008
Beauty's Gift is a riveting, moving tale of how four women lose their best friend. And how they decide to change the fate of their own lives as well as the lives of those closest to them. The AIDS-activist Zackie Achmat described it as "one of the most important books about HIV/AIDS in our country.' The FFF used to consist of Five Friends: Edith, Cordelia, Amanda, Doris and Beauty. But then Beauty suddenly becomes very ill, and after six short weeks, passes away. On her deathbed she begs Amanda to promise her one thing ' that she and the rest of the FFF will not pass away prematurely like she is doing. All because of an unfaithful husband . . . Ukuhle, she begs of Amanda. May you live a long life, and may you become old. Edith, Cordelia, Amanda and Doris all swear an oath after Beauty's premature death, that they won't have unprotected sex ' not even with their husbands ' and that they will find out their own HIV status as well as that of their husbands/partners. This is Sindiwe Magona at her very best ' writing about social issues, and not keeping quiet. Speak up, she says to women in Africa. Stand up, and take control of your own lives.
"Sindiwe Magona has written a book with a strong message - take control of your life and be assertive about it. It is a short novel, very readable, and despite having an obvious purpose, is still entertaining. Magona is a successful and award-winning author and has returned to South Africa after two decades at the United Nations in New York. She obviously feels people must speak out on the Aids issue because only if the stigma is removed and the disease can be talked about openly, can it be controlled. And she has the writing skill to make the message palatable. It is a brave book."
— Margaret von Klemperer, author of Just a Dead Man
"Sindiwe Magona's new book is first of all a novel, but will most probably remain in the history of South African literature as one of the most important manifestos of black feminism. […] Beauty's Gift is a courageous endeavour that breaks many taboos. It could only have been written by a courageous writer like Sindiwe Magona. A novel that all women should read. A book to give as a gift, a slim book, that should easily and steadily circulate, like a leaflet."
— Michela Borzaga, editor of Trauma, Memory and Narrative in the Contemporary South African Novel
"Magona raises important points here about the Aids pandemic that is decimating the country and filling up graveyards, creating countless orphans."
— Arja Salafranca, author of The Thin Line
Copyright © 2014 Sindiwe Magona