Tumi Morake's debut book hits the shelves. Pic: Kevin Mark Pass.

Tumi Morake's highly anticipated debut book, ‘And Then Mama Said’, officially hit the shelves yesterday. It's the voice of Tumi in private – a behind-the-scenes perspective of a pioneering South African star who has been deeply loved and viciously hated by her audiences.

Morake has modelled her public persona on her mother - a charming and contentious woman who used her bold voice to say what others were afraid to utter.  It’s the personality that Tumi has taken on stage in the mostly male space of stand-up comedy, and the one that gave her the courage to comment about apartheid on air. 

“This isn’t my biography, but a collection of memories from my life.  I have shared some of the things that have made me resilient and shaped the persona of Tumi Morake.  I have often been asked to share my story and I thought what better way than by honouring the woman who made me who I am, my mother,” comments Tumi Morake.

In this must-read memoir, Tumi gets frank about the race row at Jacaranda FM; the Jaguar car accident that cyber bullies say she deserved; the body-shaming she endured on the set of Our Perfect Wedding; and her tumultuous relationship with her beloved husband. 

Throughout her story, she carries the voice of her mother, and with it the indispensable life lessons that made her who she is today.

“It took me a long time to figure out how to tell this story, whether I should be comedic as would be expected or just share my honest perspective.  I looked back at how often  my cousins and I would revert back to what my mother said growing up and I decided then to let that voice that is with me all the time to guide me in my book.”

It's also a look behind the scenes of the entertainment industry and its scandals; of her rise from humble beginnings to fame and fortune and a sneak into issues of racism and cyberbullying.  In other words, the real, unfiltered story of Tumi Morake. 

Asked how she feels to be adding a book to her long list of accomplishments, Tumi says: “I am in awe and incredibly humbled.  It feels like having accomplished something outside of my comfort zone, being immortalized in something tangible.”

The book is published by Penguin Random House and is now available through www.loot.co.za