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Michelle Obama’s Arms, Khanyi Mbau’s Power and Jacob Zuma’s Wives: How to Marry a Politician and Survive Launched at Love Books

Nia Magoulianiti-McGregor and Pamela Nomvete

There was great hilarity as How to Marry a Politician and Survive, by Nia Magoulianiti-McGregor, was launched at Love Books with Pamela Nomvete recently. There were many luminaries in attendance, including Moeletsi Mbeki, the man behind KMM Review.

Nia Magoulianiti-McGregorHow to Marry a Politician and SurviveNomvete opened up the conversation by asking Magoulianiti-McGregor: “What made you write the book?”

Magoulianiti-McGregor, grinning, said, “I think I’m going to hand this question over to Moeletsi.”

To which Mbeki quipped: “Too much red wine!”

“We were sitting at a lunch,” Magoulianiti-McGregor explained, “and we were just talking about politicians and we started laughing about them. And Moeletsi said: ‘You’ve got to write the book!’, and I said: ‘Sure. I’ll call you next year.’ It was very random.”

How to Marry a Politician and Survive is a tongue-in-cheek how-to guide for those wishing to bag a rich politician. As part of her explanatory notes, Magoulianiti-McGregor divided politicians into different categories, such as “Working-class Hero”, “The Opposition Oke”, “The Old Trade-Unionist”, and goes into some detail about their personalities.

“Well, you can use their narcissistic personalities to your advantage,” the author said, “but you have to know what you’re dealing with.”

But Nomvete said she had already heard that Magoulianiti-McGregor has been accused of sexism …

“I thought I’d taken feminism back 20 years,” Magoulianiti-McGregor said lightheartedly, “which I even mention in the foreword. But I was told today I had taken it back 30 years!

“I just think, in a third world country you can’t afford to be too PC about these things. There are people who need a leg up, and they’re gonna take it!” she said, to screams of laughter from the audience.

“It’s a bit of a celebration of South African politicians, and us who complain about them and yet enjoy the quirkiness around them. So it’s more than just a how-to guide.”

“The cover’s great, isn’t it?” said Nomvete, before adding that she saw the book as a clever satire on the world of the celebrity politician.

“Even though it has elements of frivolity,” Nomvete said, “there are lots of layers in it, and I took it as a social commentary of what’s going on in our society.”

Magoulianiti-McGregor said she believes “even feminists” will enjoy her book.

“There’s something sexy about power,” she said, “and I think most women in the room would agree with that. I suppose a politician, with the power to change laws, with the power to take you to SONA with that red carpet, is desirable. That’s the guy, if you’re going to go for power. Even if you are a feminist, and I think most feminists would agree, there is just something about power that is inherently sexy.

“And maybe it’s an evolutionary, psychological thing that happens, from when we were all living in caves. You wanted the guy who was going to come home and feed your children, put a roof or cave over your head, and so on. It’s in our DNA, and it’s hard to get rid of.”

The conversation turned to the wives of President Jacob Zuma. “It was a very romantic speech he gave,” Magoulianiti-McGregor said, “about how other politicians have mistresses and girlfriends, and they try and hide it, and in the end he’s actually proud of his wives and he’s proud of his children. Which would be very romantic if it wasn’t for the odd … illegitimate child on the side.”

Nomvete then asked Magoulianiti-McGregor: “What about Khanyi Mbau? Why does she get such a raw deal?”

“I don’t think I gave her such a raw deal,” Magoulianiti-McGregor said. “But I think she’s an out-there person, she’s actually quite amazing and completely confident, and if I gave her a hard time I don’t mean it. I’m actually quite in awe of her. She’s got this persona, but in fact she’s got a lot of power behind her.”

The book also includes tips on how to get Michelle Obama’s arms, tips for sexy eating (including recipes) and a guide to the modern South African slang of relationships (including “Ben-10″ and “ATM Bomber”). The recipe for the perfect blow-job, however, was left on the editing floor …


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Jennifer Malec (@ProjectJennifer) tweeted live from the event using the hashtag #livebooks:



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Thanks to Kevin James Photography for some of these launch images.



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