This ground-breaking anthology of Botswana women's writing was launched on 19 September 2019 at the Gaborone Book Festival. It includes not only short stories, poetry, drama, and extracts from novels, but also non-traditional sources such as letters, court reports, journalism, and even skipping rhymes. It is of interest not only to literary scholars and general readers but to historians. Unlike many collections of this sort it is actually enjoyable to read.
The range is remarkable, and reflects the many years of work that went into its compilation. There is old and new. Poems range from the unforgettable power of "Custom" (Tjawanwa Dema), about the impact of tradition on women's lives, to the sheer delight of "Banana Split" (Tshetsana Senau). In a letter from a convent school, a pupil (none other than Seodi Molema, later Seodi Khama) describes being taken outside by Sister at night to see the new Russian Moon, "Put-nik". There is a strong grassroots flavour: a press report of how rural women are celebrating International Women's Day finds them mainly wanting action on specific issues. (One interviewee asks the journalist, about Women's Day, "What is it my son?")
The book launch was attended by a large crowd, and graced by the First Lady. A large group of contributors were present to receive their copies.
The book is published by University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. It was made possible by a grant from CIPA (the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority) which funded the payment of the contributors at market rates. Botswana Women Write will be available on Amazon from October 2019.
Copyright © 2019 University of Botswana History Department
Last updated 22 September 2019