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Last Updated
Tuesday 16 October 2018, 17:21 pm.
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Icons of Botswana

His writing commands one's attention. It's this unspoken ability to draw and hold our attention that makes us feel connected to the characters in his books. Andrew Sesinyi takes his writing seriously. When he talks about his passion for writing, nothing else around him matters.
By Staff Writer Wed 17 Oct 2018, 05:32 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Icons of Botswana








Born on September 27, 1952, Sesinyi started writing at an early age. His formative years were spent in Mmadinare before the bright lights of the big city beckoned. He relocated to Gaborone where he completed his studies at Gaborone Secondary School in 1972. The words talented, courageous and strong, immediately come to mind when describing Sesinyi. Yet with so many accolades under his belt, he remains humble because, he says, he was brought up that way. He says that his biggest inspiration is Margaret Sesinyi, his aunt who raised him.

"She raised me like her own child and I lived with her even before her children (all now grown up) were born. We shared a deep and profound mother and son affinity. She got to see my writings from an early age and encouraged me to read by buying me soft cover books whenever she could,Ó narrates Sesinyi His first novel, Love On The Rocks, started as a short story written because of a dare from a friend, Jerry Moroka. He says he wrote the story and shared it with his friend who gave him positive feedback and asked him to develop the story further so that he could see what happened next. He therefore extended the story until the manuscript was finished. This marked the birth of Love on the Rocks published in 1981. Finding a publisher proved very difficult.

He was referred to Reverend Derek Jones who was running the Botswana Book Centre at the time. Jones contacted Macmillan Education Ltd in England. They were interested. His manuscript became part of their new Pacesetters series.

He continued writing even though most times he didn't write for the publisher. In 1992 Macmillan once again published his other novel, Rassie.  The title Rassie comes from the main character who was supposedly an orphan named after her mother. Rassie is also the name of his wife to whom he has been married for 34 years.

The writing bug continued to bite. In 2001 Longman Publishers became interested in

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his new manuscript, and Carjack, his third novel, was published. He mentions that the woman who published it told him that she put the manuscript away for a while because she had just been carjacked herself when the manuscript landed on her desk.
  What was his inspiration at the time? 

"We lived then, and we still live today, in fear of organised crime syndicates who hijack cars," he explains, surely influenced in the truest sense by his environment.

In 2010 after leaving the public service, he published Shadows of Birth and Goodbye To Power. Shadows of Birth is a novel and the play Goodbye to Power is a political satire. It was wrongly interpreted to suggest that there would be chaos if the opposition takes over. However, when one reads the play carefully, it says a lot about our politics from several years ago to the present.

Sesinyi is still writing but he says he will wait until he's free from all contractual obligations wherever these may exist before publishing his factual work currently in his possession and which is extensively reviewed by a renowned international publisher and one local publisher.

"I look forward to full time writing in my golden years, and these are my golden years because I truly enjoy ageing in good health with a feeling of being wiser," he says.

He also worked for Radio Botswana and the Daily News as a reporter. He says he enjoyed himself tremendously during the early times when the public media doubled up for dissenting views since no other media existed then.

They had radio programmes like Roundtable, which he enjoyed producing and presenting for years. He was mentored then by a German broadcaster and some Thompson Foundation people. He enjoyed having all those divergent views screaming at each other live on Sunday mornings. He admits that he sometimes wakes up dreaming that he is still presents the programme. The father of five says he enjoys being a father, and grandfather to two boys.  

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