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28 September 2006

Dear Friends of Bessie Head, Critics, Scholars, Artists,

We have talked for some time about the celebrations next year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the birth of Bessie Head. Now we have sponsors, and we have dates. Hooray! You may want to make next year's travel plans accordingly. Please make a note of the following:

5-6 July 2007 (Thursday-Friday) — Gaborone, Botswana: a SYMPOSIUM for everyone, on any aspect of Head's life or work. The Call for Contributions is found below. There will also be cultural events and performances, including an original play, and the awarding of the first national Bessie Head Writing Prizes. Note that the organizers would like an idea of your planned contribution, to assist them in planning. They would like outlines or abstracts by November 30th (see below).

12 July 2007 (Thursday) — Pietermaritzburg, South Africa — a seminar on Bessie Head. Pietermaritzburg is Bessie's birthplace and where she spent her early years. A tour of her old neighbourhood is anticipated.

15-16-17 July 2007 (Sunday-Monday-Tuesday) — Serowe, Botswana — a wide range of popular celebrations, tree plantings, reminiscences and appreciations (both invited and popular), exhibitions, performances, and — it is hoped — the proclamation of the Head house as a National Heritage Site. These are all public holidays in Botswana, and a good crowd is expected. If you would like to make or repeat a presentation in Serowe, please indicate this as per the Call for Contributions.

Cape Town — we believe that there will be a celebration here as well. Cape Town is where Head became a writer and a mother, and where she participated in the unique cultural and political life of District Six.

[Note: the website has not yet been updated with the above information, as we are waiting for confirmations from Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town. But it will be posted there soon].

Good luck to everyone. We hope to see you at one or more of the above celebrations next year. Pula!

-tom holzinger, for Bessie Head Heritage


To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Bessie Head's birth, Bessie Head Heritage is planning a number of celebrations in July 2007, including a Symposium, with the support of the English Department of the University of Botswana, in Gaborone on 5 and 6 July 2007. Proposals are welcomed on any aspect of Bessie Head's work or life. Please send abstracts or outlines of no more than 500 words to one of the following before 30 November 2006:

Dr. Mary Lederer
ledererm at

Dr. Leloba Molema
molemals at

Ms. Seatholo Tumedi
tumedism at
shadisquared at

You may also post them to:

Dr. Mary Lederer
P.O. Box 70401
We also invite submissions in other media (music, art, drama, etc.) for display or performance in Gaborone or Serowe (15-16-17 July 2007) or both. Please contact Dr. Lederer, Dr. Molema, or Ms. Tumedi any time before the end of January 2007.

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