Local writer, Wame Molefhe has won a highly commended prize in the prestigious 2007/2008 Commonwealth Broadcasting Association's (CBA) Short Story Contest.
Her story, 'Sixpack', about the desperation of immigrants, is among the just over 20 winning stories chosen from thousands of entries from all over the Commonwealth. In 'Sixpack', a Zimbabwean woman comes to Botswana to earn money to pay for her sick husband's medicine back home and ends up on the streets as a prostitute. 'Sixpack', along with the other prize winning stories, has been recorded on a CD that will be sent to radio stations throughout the Commonwealth and played on air in those countries.
Commenting on the importance of this win, Molefhe said, "The Commonwealth competition put me in the same group of writers from all over the Commonwealth and so this achievement is affirmation that writing is something that I must continue to do."
Molefhe has had much success with her writing. In 2005, she took first prize in the Alexander McCall Smith sponsored short story contest organised by the British Council pocketing the P10,000 prize money. Also in 2005, she was third in the South African Short Stories Publishers' Association Contest and besides winning a cash prize, her story was included in their anthology. Her story, 'It is Well in My Soul', appeared in the acclaimed Edinburgh Review in August 2006. She also had a story published in the inaugural issue of the UK based literary magazine, Riptide.
The programme links local writers with more established writers in Europe who act as their mentors. Part of that experience included attending the Beyond Borders Festival in Uganda. For Molefhe that was a very important experience. "I met winners of the Caine Prize. I met people who had left their professions for the love of writing. I think the best thing to come out of that was that I was able to come face-to-face with many writers who I admire greatly, some of whom I am still in touch with."
Molefhe is the outgoing Secretary-General of the Writers Association of Botswana (WABO). She is also a trustee of Petlo Literary Arts Trust.
The CBA short story contest has been an annual event since 1996. Submitted stories must be under 600 words and can be sent by email or regular post to addresses found on their web site. According to the CBA website, the purpose of the contest is to "increase understanding between and appreciation of different Commonwealth cultures, to showcase the rich diversity of the Commonwealth and to support rising literary talents". The overall winner of the contest wins 2000 British Pounds, regional winners win 500 British Pounds and highly commended winners win 100 British Pounds.