Using real life financial scandals as her inspiration plus her years as a brand manager in Sandton, Jacobsen has woven together a story that marries the sophisticated corporate world with traditional African superstitions in a very accessible and believable way.
Characters are finely penned and whilst not literary fiction this is a contemporary story that can be read with speed, delight and recognition.
Meet Georgie, marketing manager for a large corporation. Sophisticated and feisty she is respected by her peers and lusted by her boss. Her integrity is unquestioned and her empathy reaches into the dark corners of her more traditional African associates. But something is off at her place of work and she can’t put her finger on it.
It is the shadows that are lengthening and moving, but only for Sindiwe and Kensington who are finding their presence more and more terrifying. These tokoloshes have something to say, they are gathering for the kill; a sinister warning in the plush offices of the firm. Something is very wrong at the corporation and, as the shadows move and re-group, Sindiwe is forced to go home to her rural village to seek answers.
Clinton, young, keen, and bright but still on the lower rungs, is asked – no told - to do something that is against his ethics and seeks advice from Georgie whom he trusts implicitly. And then there is the handsome, magnetic boss from England, Jake, whose personal life is something of a mess and about to get messier.
Jacobsen’s style is unpretentious and she describes the corporate world with honesty. I particularly liked the short chapters. Jacobsen has learned the art of persuasion in writing - pushing you on to read the next chapter, and the next in search of answers.
A malevolent Board intent on its own agenda, dark forces and disruption, tokoloshes and tea, some sex in the city and rural Africa combine to provide a satisfying read with a clear question that is as disturbing as it is real. What about the rural consumer – how do they eke out a life when it is often governed by the collusion of greedy corporates whose bulging pockets are about to get bigger. Scrutiny that needs to be ever more vigilant, and reported to the Competition Commission who is credited with doing a good job.