Botswana has published its first anthology by women in an effort to cultivate a reading culture in the country by the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press women.
The book establishes some record of what Batswana women think and how they live, while simultaneously reflecting issues women face, not only in Botswana but globally: domestic abuse, poverty, single motherhood, just to name a few.
However, it also reflects sexual freedom and pleasure, intellectual engagement, expressions of joy, playfulness, and assertion of a political presence.
“At the same time, it reflects the richness and challenges of their particular social, political and cultural context,” says The University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. (UKZN Press).
It includes contributions from more than 60 women, this book covers creative writing, traditional songs and poetry, drama, letters and memoirs, interviews, court statements, journalism, and other non-fiction. Since a “typical woman” cannot be singularly pinned down, this anthology is necessarily wide-ranging.
The book was launched at the annual Gaborone Book Festival Trust. The three-day festival’s primary objectives are to encourage Batswana to read, to give authors a platform to showcase their work and to facilitate an environment for networking amongst readers, publishers, booksellers, and authors.
UKZN Press is committed to challenging existing stereotypes, addressing the ever-present sex and gender imbalance in authorship, and, in this new publication, bringing another descriptor to life among Batswana women – storyteller/story writer.
Botswana Women Write, edited by Professor Maitseo M.M. Bolaane, Dr. Mary S. Lederer, Dr. Leloba Molema and Professor Connie Rapoo.
This ground-breaking book brings together women from all walks of life like Bessie Head, Unity Dow, Lauri Kubuitsile and Tjawangwa Dema.
Mary Lederer, one of the editors, says, “We (the editors) have intervened as little as possible in the texts themselves, only including cultural or political references where necessary. Some of the texts are probably not normally considered literature, but they are nonetheless important because of what they reveal about Batswana women’s lives. There are stories, poems and plays, but there are also, for example, transcriptions of court testimonies.”