Book Review: Saffron, 56 stories by Muslim women

I did not read Saffron after our official launch on Sunday, 8th April 2018 at Joburg Theatre.

I waited patiently for the next weekend, so that Saffron would have my undivided attention; it was truly worth the wait. Mother Nature agreed by setting the scene for Saffron’s debut in my life. It was the perfect weather. Crisp Jozi weather, with a light drizzle; yet warm indoors.

I settled in for the afternoon with my mug of liquid gold; fluffy socks and Saffron.

I held the book in my hand, with love and admiration undoubtedly. Firstly it is such an honour for my chapter to be included in Saffron together with 55 remarkable writers.

The cliché is never judge a book by its cover . . . . . With Saffron you should definitely judge a book by the cover.

Saffron like the vibrant, aromatic and beautiful spice gives you a hint of what awaits you within the covers. As I flipped through the pages from one to another, chapter after chapter, each story resonated with me.

I had doubts when I initially wrote my own chapter, was it something I wanted to be documented and shared? I am a very private person. Ultimately this chapter became my liberation from a phase in life which I had to get through – call it Emancipation of Me.

It was comforting whilst reading each story, many writers’ were also sharing stories which were equally deep. Each chapter either reminded me of someone experiencing something similar. From moments of nostalgia to suddenly wanting to hug those I have cherished relationships with.  We are connected, an invisible thread of shared triumphs and challenges, broken hearts to enduring love stories,

The strength of letting go and moving on; to wholeheartedly embracing Sabr (Patience).

Certain stories brought out the beautiful nuances of my life in a profound manner, there were stories which were like a breath of fresh air; to the playful stories to deeply personal storytelling.

I found myself nodding in agreement, smiling and then tears welling up. Saffron is not just a book, it slowly develops into a companion. The women who bravely shared their stories, will make you feel as if you know them, because in them you will recognize yourself.

Let me warn you though, if you are going to start reading Saffron, don’t think that you can place her on your bedside table whilst you prepare lunch or dinner, your mind will not be at ease until you return to her. She will have you craving for the next chapter; simply because the stories in Saffron are captivating and real. This authentic book is a testimony to all women, we love, we hurt, we experience heartbreak BUT we always get right back up and face whatever comes our way.

Saffron depicts this courage and brevity exquisitely in this soul stirring narrative. This amazing and wonderful anthology needs to be on your bookshelf because it has a voice of its own. Perhaps this is what will stand out with readers; not just Muslim, male or female, black or white – its unique yet universal.

It will offer you that silver lining, and give you the courage to forge ahead no matter what, a journey of self-discovery. Dr Zaheera Jina intricately brought all our stories together, she created a sisterhood for us writers; with SAFFRON. An outstanding initiative which brought Muslim women from all walks of life across South Africa onto one very necessary platform, sharing through experience.

If you are looking for a book which will inspire you then Saffron is that book which encompasses simple life’s truths yet is candid in its delivery.

This anthology is an evocative and poignant collaboration of personal stories. It brings to the forefront so many real elements of life.

Where can we get a copy of Saffron?

We have yet to confirm the bookstore outlets but we will update readers on Indian Spice page. You can email me on for a copy which cost R240.00 excl postage outside of JHB. 

The anthology, ‘Saffron’ is published by African Perspectives Publishing and retails at  R240 ZAR.

About Saffiya Ismail

Born in Pietermaritzburg, she now resides in Johannesburg and says her most important role in life is being a mother. Saffiya is a freelance writer. A contributing author in “Riding the Samoosa Express” (Anthology launched 21st March 2015). With a second chapter submitted for the next book, Saffiya says her passion is writing.

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