Roots

Warming up for 2007
Botswana remembers BHead

Shifting Sandscapes
Bessie's Head in dance

 
Howard Head accepts award for his mother

On Monday, May 8th, Howard Head accepted a "token of appreciation" from the South Afican Minister of Education for his mother's "immense contribution to Africa's 100 best books of the 20th century collection." The occasion was the launch of the National Reading Programme at Izingolweni Primary School in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal. The Minister, Ms Naledi Pandor, MP, was present to make the awards. Read the full MOE press release or see a faster version on our website.

Dr David Paton, the son of Alan Paton, and Robert Mphahlele, the son of E’skia Mphahlele, also took home awards on behalf of their parents. Other recipients included such prominent authors as Dr Mongane Wally Serote.


20th Anniversary of Bessie's Death
April 17, 2006 marked a tragic anniversary — twenty years since Bessie Head died in 1986 at just 48 years old ... Although there was no commemoration of the day in Botswana, the Botswana Daily News had run a story a few days earlier. Link to Daily News or see a faster version on our website.

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Media Get Head Start on BessieFest 2007
We have an enjoyed an early, encouraging response to our calls for celebrations of Bessie Head's life. The journalist Lorato Galeage interviewed one of us for the
Botswana Daily News (see above). The Financial Mail of South Africa has promised a story for this July. And our friend Margie Orford in Cape Town recently published "In search of the spirit of Bessie Head" in the Sunday Times.


Botswana memories
Mary Lederer and Seatholo Masego Tumedi of the University of Botswana have collected written and visual works about Bessie Head from persons living in Botswana. This volume, entitled Writing Bessie Head: An Anthology of Remembrance and Criticism, has found a local publisher and now looks for one overseas. Place an advance order by writing to Mary Lederer (username = ledererm).


Clouds of correspondence
Professor Linda-Susan Beard, teacher of English at Bryn Mawr College in the USA, has for several years studied the Bessie Head correspondence. Just recovering from a terrible car accident in 2005, she plans to a publish a volume of selections from the letters this year or next under the title Shifting Sandscapes.


Bessie's Head — First Physical Theatre Company
On April 7 this Grahamstown-based dance troupe brought its vigorous work, Bessie's Head, to the Maitisong Festival in Gaborone, Botswana. It is in fact the story of Bessie Emery, Bessie's Head mother, as she struggled with loneliness, illness, and despair after the death of her toddler son. This viewer thought the work had enormously improved over its original version in 2000. Awesomely athletic dancing! Well worth seeing if it comes near you. For more info, see www.ru.ac.za/firstphysical.


Conferences? Meetings?
If you are organising, or if you know about, any Bessie Head-related event or literary work, please send an announcement to Bessiehead@Gmail.com [Bessiehead@Gmail.com]. As the Hopkins poem says, "For this we came!"
 

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© 2006 Bessie Head Heritage