‘Ougat’ - a Jezebel who survives the social conditioning of a Cape Flats community

03 June 2021 - 13:15 By jonathan ball publishers
Unsettlingly honest and brutally blunt, 'Ougat' is Shana Fife’s story of survival.
Unsettlingly honest and brutally blunt, 'Ougat' is Shana Fife’s story of survival.
Image: Supplied

I was three months shy of my 21st birthday, and I had committed the one unforgivable act for a Coloured girl from the Cape Flats. I sat on the toilet, staring at the pregnancy test, mostly confused by how I had fallen so far down the social ladder so quickly. The sex I had been having wasn’t even worth the trouble I was in. But the two lines that were almost glowing in one of the darkest moments of my life were there, and they weren’t fading.

By the time Shana Fife is 25 she has two kids from different fathers. To the Coloured people she grew up around, she is a jintoe, a jezebel, jas, a woman with mileage on the pussy. She is alone, she has no job and, as she is constantly reminded by her family, she is pretty much worthless and unlovable. How did she become this woman, the epitome of everything she was conditioned to strive not to be?

Unsettlingly honest and brutally blunt, Ougat is Fife’s story of survival: of surviving the social conditioning of her Cape Flats community, of surviving sexual violence and depression, and of ultimately escaping a cycle of abuse.

Exploring themes of sexuality, marriage and motherhood, rape, drugs and depression and cultural identity, Fife describes – with the self-deprecating humour her followers love so much – what it means to be a Coloured woman, who gives Coloured womanhood meaning and, ultimately, how surviving life as a Coloured woman means being OK with giving a giant “fuck you” to the norm.

A powerful, fresh and disarming new voice – Fife’s writing is like nothing you’ve read before.

Ougat will be available in bookstores by the end of June.

About the author

Fife is a work-from-home mother of three who runs a successful blog. She has a BA in Live Performance, Music and Film from Afda Film School and a Certificate in Journalism from City Varsity. Fife does content production for various businesses. She is a 2019 fellow of the Jakes Gerwel Foundation and NB Publishers’ mentorship programme. This will be her first book.