The Suit by Can Themba shows us a time period, during the apartheid era in a Johannesburg township called Sophiatown, within a seemingly perfect marriage. The reader is introduced to Philemon, the protagonist, who is happily married to his wife, Matilda. The story begins to describe an evidently normal and structured day. Due to a forewarning about his wife’s unfaithfulness, as well as forgetting his pass, he rushes home only to find another man in bed with Matilda. In a rush to escape unobtrusively, the man who Matilda had been with climbs out the window and leaves his suit behind. Philemon, as her punishment, deems the suit as their special guest and makes sure that it is taken care of meticulously by threatening her with death if the suit were to ever vanish. Though very humiliating for Matilda, she follows her husband’s orders, though noticing the change that occurs within Philemon. As a distraction from her surroundings, Matilda joins a cultural club for women. She organizes a party for the members and their husbands at which, despite her desperate pleas, Philemon insists, in front of the guests, the suit be taken out from hiding and served as usual. In the end, Matilda is found curled up on the floor, dead with the suit being nowhere in sight.
Can Themba was known for his impeccable short stories and how they were all anecdotes and brief descriptions that depicted the harsh and depressing conditions of African life during the Apartheid era in the Johannesburg