As I sit here and think back on the journey that it took to reach this milestone, I am overwhelmed with emotion. I feel immeasurable gratitude, elation and pride to be a part of such a powerful moment in history. I still remember the phone call I received, that my poem has been selected and it will be published in the first anthology by Batswana women. “Botswana Women Write”.
Writing has always been my passion and joy. I strongly believe that it found me and took me on a path that I could have never imagined. If I’d been given the chance to look into my future, I’d never have dreamt that this could be possible. As a young girl, I started writing poetry in my journal as an escape and a way to express my emotions. I realize now that when you share your gift with the world, you never know what could become of it and how far it can take you.
A few years ago, all the contributors were called to meet at the University of Botswana. We all shared the pieces that would be published in the anthology, had the chance to engage in conversation and to get to know one another. I was in awe, as I was surrounded by women whose gifts have made them household names in Botswana and even across the world. Whose names will surely take them even further, once the public has had the opportunity to read their work?
Not long after our initial meeting, we were then called to a contract-signing engagement. This is where we gave the publisher the rights to publish our words. Excitement, laughter and anticipation filled the room that day. We all realized just how much more of a reality this was becoming. Although a specific publisher had not been locked in yet, just the knowledge that no matter what, the editing team was going to make sure that this happened, was enough.
And here I am today, unable to sleep, thrilled and anxious because the big day is just a night of sleep away. The launch of “Botswana Women Write” at Maitisong (Maru-a-Pula school), during the second annual “Gaborone Book Festival” is underway. I could pinch myself!
This has been a journey that has taken a few years to achieve. It certainly wouldn’t even be a reality if it wasn’t for the tireless behind-the-scenes work done by the editing team, Dr. Mary S. Lederer, Dr. Leloba Molema and Professor Connie Rapoo. I can only imagine what a mammoth challenge it must have been. As well as all the effort put into getting the book published by UKZN Press! Thank you for all your hard work.
I know my fellow writers share the same sentiments and we are all enormously grateful.
And with that, I would like to end this with a quote from my favourite author: “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou
The Launch and Festival
The 2nd Annual Book Festival runs from the 19th to the 21st of September. You can find out more on their Facebook page.
You can also go to the “Botswana Women Write” book launch on Thursday the 19th of September. The event is FREE and starts at 6 pm. There will be performances, interviews and readings about the works within the book. It does, after all, have contributions from over 60 women! I’ll be there, so please come say hi.