Riding the Samoosa Express:

Personal Narratives of Marriage and Beyond

Zaheera Jina and Hasina Asvat

A collection of life stories exploring issues of marriage, love, loss, family life, culture, religious beliefs, suburban life, local and international politics, freedom and education among other important issues faced by professional and well-educated Muslim women who have not been held back by global stereotypes.

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Riding the Samoosa Express:

‘The global ideology that prevails around the subject of Muslim women has been shaped by a description of women being voiceless, silent and oppressed. Other views have positioned Muslim women as either religious or secular and have ignored the complexity of Muslim women’s experiences.’ (Davids, 2003).

Zaheera Jina and Hasina Asvat

Zaheera Jina has been described as a writer; an academic and a stay-at-home-mum. She holds a PhD in mathematics education from WITS University, South Africa. She is the editor of three books (Tween Tales, Saffron and Riding the Samoosa Express) and the author of Surprise! and the StimuMath programme for Pre-schoolers. Zaheera lives in Lenasia, South Africa with her husband, three sons and many in-laws.

Hasina Asvat grew up in Lenasia and presently resides there. She is a physiotherapist by profession. She enjoys art, travelling and spending time with her extended family


Fatima Adam, Mymoena Arnold, Zakiyyah Asmall, Hasina Asvat, Nadia Cassim, Quraisha Dawood, Somayya Hansrod, Farhana Ismail, Saffiya Ismail, Zaheera Jina, Adeela Kasojee, Jasmine Khan, Sumaya Kola, Tazmin Mahomed, Salma Mangera, Sumayya Mehtar, Naseema Moolla, Zayboon Motala, Rehana Moosajee, Nabeelah Patel, Yasmin Denat, Shireen Sabodien, Bibi-Aisha Wadvalla.

Zaheera Jina and Hasina Asvat's author page

‘A book that is a bridge between paternalistic, misogynistic interpretations of Islam and the reality of a resilient, female Muslim identity, in contemporary South Africa.’

Shaida Kazie Ali, prize-winning author of Not a Fairytale and Lessons in Husbandry

‘A wonderful portal into the multifaceted lives of South African Muslim women. The narratives invite the reader to enter into the precarious realm of the personal and interpersonal – a realm that demands critical attention in contemporary South Africa.’

Associate Professor Nina Hoel, University of Oslo

‘When an Indian, Muslim woman reaches marriageable age, it is not uncommon for her to be approached by elderly family members with the following question, “When are you getting married?” Often, the young woman is encouraged to “view” or “meet” suitable men in the presence of her family … The question of whether or not this young lady will be happily matched to this suitor is often left unanswered … Riding the Samoosa Express is an anthology that aims to showcase the lives of South African Muslim Women before and beyond marriage.’

Sumaya Seedat, Irtiqa website, Muslim Women With a Voice

“More than the essays, the collection of women is itself a testament to the varied nature of that elusive thing which western, as well as traditional Islamic, interpretations attempt to squeeze into a neat little box: the Muslim woman.Riding the Samoosa Express is an account of love, marriage, loss, and identity.”
Saadia Faruqi

“An enjoyable read that demythologises Muslim women in South Africa.”
– Ayesha Kajee, Sunday Times

“A well written tale sampling the diversity and the different faces the Indian Muslim women contributors experienced. A must and good read.”
– Papatia Feauxzar, Amazon reviewer

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