I grew up in in a small village in the northern district of Botswana. During that time we were not exposed to any western technology. My siblings and I would spend our evenings sitting around a fire while listening to my grandmother’s creative stories. School holidays were such a treat for us. We would enjoy staying up late while grandma kept us entertained. Some of the characters in her stories consisted of friendly giants and unicorns that could fly and talk.
She would tell us about mischievous herd boys who would spend time looking for giant snakes and ended up losing their cattle. My grandmother’s imaginative tales inspired me to write Gole Dema because I wanted to capture a story that reminded me of my Childhood.
About Storytelling in Botswana
Our traditional cultures are slowly being isolated, as we are moving away from our home villages into the cities and no longer spending time simply making a fire and interacting without the distractions of modern technology. Even today, when I visit my home village, the children in the neighbourhood prefer watching television in the evenings. Most of the people in our community know one another and those who own a TV often don’t mind allowing the kids in the area to visit.
When I think about my childhood, I would like my grandchildren to be able to experience the same moments that I had with my siblings, without the influence of technology. I would like to inspire parents to continue the tradition of African storytelling by spending a few moments reading a book with their children, or telling them about their own favourite childhood stories.
My Experience With Storytelling
I developed a passion for children’s books when I took a course in creative writing. Often my assignments would focus on children’s books and storytelling, which made me realize that I really enjoyed writing fantastical stories. I also enjoy writing fiction and memoirs; in fact I have recently completed an autobiography that is yet to be published.
When I become a grandmother in 2017 I was reminded of my own granny who used to love telling us stories, and this is what inspired me to continue the tradition of African storytelling.
Gole Dema Children’s Book
Gole Dema, meaning “Dark Cloud” is a fantastical tale about a young boy who embarks on a journey of self discovery. The boy Shamu, was an heir to the Chiefs thrown, but his jealous uncle and stepmother had abducted him at birth and banished him to an unknown village.
Little did they know, Shamus’ mother Malili did everything she could to protect her son and to ensure that he would one day discover the truth… Gole Dema is an iKalanga inspired folktale that unveils the magic and nostalgia about African story telling.
Gole Dema will appeal to children from ages 10 and up.
Your Invitation to the Book Launch
My team and I will be hosting a book launch on the 28th of July at the No. 1 Ladies Coffee House from 10:30 am. Visitors such as families, authors, publishers, artists, media companies and book lovers are expected to attend.
Gole Dema is targeted mostly for children from ages 10 and upwards, therefore we expect parents to bring their kids along for a fun-filled day. My editor and I will be hosting a few readings for the audience. After that, children can enjoy some colourful interactive activities with our illustrators. The Gole Dema book launch will be an event that the entire family can enjoy! We hope to see you there!
This post was kindly written for us by author Gracious Chedu Sbrana. She’s passionate about traveling and reading inspiring books such as the Bible, being at the top of my list, followed by The Seven Spiritual laws of success by Deepak Chopra and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Spending time with her family and friends is ritual to Gracious.