Nineteen-year-old Lebogang Botlhoko has penned a book titled 'Thoughts' dedicated at raising awareness about mental health.
The young woman has published two books namely Thoughts, and joint anthology ‘A Force to Reckon’. The author is also a Gender Based Violence (GBV) and mental health activist. In an interview with Arts & Culture, she pointed out that she speaks more about GBV because she feels it is a very pressing issue, especially now.
She added that she likes to spend her leisure time reading poetry, novels and listening to podcasts such as the ‘MeToo’ and related podcasts, as they help her feel more in touch with everything happening around her and give her more insight. "Thoughts was published when I was 17-years-old. It focuses mostly on mental health, love, healing women and femininity. I was inspired to write this anthology because I dealt with mental illnesses at a young age and it forced me to grow at a very tender age.
Once I started finding healing, I got inspired to help others join me on my healing journey and understand that the light is not at the end of the tunnel but instead, they are that light and they just need to switch themselves on. I specifically chose the poetry genre because it comes in its rawest form as it creates its own story and also paints a clear picture," she said. Botlhoko observed that her target audience are people that were either dealing with mental illnesses and are seeking healing or those that had already gone through life traumas. Furthermore, she said her target audience was also women that needed uplifting because she was in immense love with women and believed they deserve to be reminded that they are enchanted. The 56-page book is a journey or rather a story that intertwines and eventually creates a full picture.
Botlhoko further explained that the message that the book conveys to readers is that they did not need to wait for things to get better but have to start on their own, through the help of others. She also indicated that it portrayed that there was a season for everything be it a season of laughter or a season for pain. "It only makes you stronger.
I faced many challenges writing this book. Firstly, having to confront my emotions and having to understand and realise how far I’ve come. I shed a few tears as I compiled the poetry and I was reminded of where I came from, which was a very far place. I was built from hurt and pain and having to read my story was a bit challenging for me, especially because I was now letting the rest of the world in my mind. I had a lot of achievements after publishing.
I began to get more opportunities and the launch of my first book was a huge success with the help of my parents and my publishers," she said. The book was published in June 2020 in Botswana. Botlhoko said during all her challenges, her friends and family supported her all the way. She added that she appreciated her parents’ help and money they put into her publishing.