It was a full house at Exclusive books in Hyde Park where former eNCA anchor and Power FM radio host Iman Rappetti launched her first book, an autobiography.
Guests were treated to light snacks and fine wine, Rappetti took to stage on time to share some of the anecdotes in her biography, Becoming Iman.
Many of her fans and friends, including Ursula Chikane, Jeremy Maggs, author Sisonke Msimang and her family including her daughters, attended the launch which felt like an extended dinner party with Rappetti as host. She was funny and down to earth, keeping the audience captivated and in stitches.
“In our country the desire to be free has been consistent; it has been what has sustained us. What has kept families in the face of no answers and the potential for brutality. All of my incarnations and evolutions have come with a price tag of deep and severe pain and I learnt resilience from my first teachers – my mother, my grandmother and people in our communities, and I continue to learn that resilience by enduring lessons we are taught every day, from women in our country who have gone to jail and given birth and continue to stand up with a spine that is crafted of constant steel.”
Rappetti went on to say that she doesn’t pretend to be an author of substance, rather she is asking readers to see if the book echoes their own situation and helps to show a way out.
“One thing we are not observant of in our society is the potential of inflicting harm on people in a drive-by conversation ... And the one thing I resolved to do was not to be an agent of anyone else’s humiliation. I never wanted to do that in my life, ever. I wanted to give my listener and hopefully my readers the permission to hold my story.
“I just thought whatever I felt was real and needed telling I would tell and share on the page and so what you will see is a story that I hope will be coherent, encouraging and make you laugh and make you cry.”
The question-and-answer session was filled with more comments from friends and fans citing how proud they were of her and encouraging her to consider writing yet another book.
Also in attendance were former colleagues including Uveka Rangappa, Karyn Maughan and Power Fm Boss Given Mkhari who welcomed guests and reiterated his pride in her work and journey.
Maggs told City Press: “I have worked with Iman for five years and I have always considered her my television wife and I her a television husband. I love her complexity and humanity; I love her ability to empathise with so many different people.”
Iman’s former mother-in-law Celia Redal told City Press: “I am so proud of her. I have walked a long sad journey in some parts of her life with Vanessa –and we call her Vanessa at home. I’m one of the people who know what she’s been through and I thought I wanted to move heaven and earth to see her in this wonderful space. She is just radiant and she’s just blossomed.”
We also caught up with one of her listeners, Luke Hutchinson, who said he was halfway through the book.
“I think Iman is revealing incredible aspects of her life but also very poetic and in an intense way... when reading the book you really are left wanting more.”