So I did an interview with Bola Mosuro for a BBC Focus on Africa segment and the question was something along the lines of why Botswana doesn't have a thriving writing culture. Bola is great fun and entirely respectful of the bottom-up approach when it comes to local knowledge, in fact she lived in Botswana a number of years ago, before all the shopping malls popped up, and has quite a strong sense of this space. At any rate I had editor Emang Bokhutlho and writer Ngozi Chukura to help me attempt an answer.
|map 'borrowed' from Botswana Tourism|
We won't get into why I think the question is inherently problematic. Due to a technical hiccup there was little time to grapple with the limitations of defining writing strictly and specifically as published text, leaving no room to debate the admissibility of defining live literature, within a culture that is still deeply rooted in the oral, as, if not writing per se, legitimate literature. In Botswana does this then become a question of lack of (access to) publishing facilities rather than the absence of (production of) writing? Just in case you do live in or visit Botswana and have been wondering where you could hear some of Botswana's writing (and music) here is the beginning of a far from comprehensive list. For a city of 350 000 individuals theres a few poetry happenings.
Poetry & Soul Open Mic Nites, United Cafe Ext 10, Every last Tuesday of the month,
Poet's Passport @The National Museum, Every last Friday of the month
UB Writers Workshop, Every Wednesday (during semesters) @ University of Botswana
Poetry feature, Every Tuesday on Yarona FM
Poetavango bi-monthly sessions @ the Nhabe Museum (This collective also hosts an annual festival every October/November)
Speaking of which their festival this year Oct 26 - Nov 2nd, 2013 has a book exhibition element and some of the writers whose books you might want to get are listed on this poster
PS If you host a (fairly) regular poetry night/platform anywhere in Botswana do let me know the when and where of it so I can grow this list.