Long-craved Gaborone in-person book fest returns

Gaborone Book Festival Co-founder and curator Phele PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Gaborone Book Festival Co-founder and curator Phele PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

After holding COVID-19-induced virtual fests over the last two years, Gaborone Book Festival (GBF) returns for long-craved in-person attendances for its fifth anniversary this week.

This year's event will run from September 15 to 17 with activities of the first two days held at Maitisong Theatre and the last one – the main fest day – scheduled for the University of Botswana (UB) Auditorium.

The edition's theme is aptly titled ‘The Reunion’.

The organisers said the festival will be exciting as Author Talks and Literary Sessions will be held in-person throughout the three days. Co-founder and curator, Keikantse Phele said during a press conference recently that this year’s edition is more of a celebratory one as the festival celebrates five years of existence.

“We believe that it's always important to celebrate a milestone, which for us is such a huge thing looking at we remain the only book festival in Botswana. Our core area of focus in promoting literacy in the country is shaping up in many different ways,” Phele said.

She highlighted that their growth is reflected in the different platforms they have. She said the book festival is in a way contributing to the national idea of shaping Botswana into a knowledge-based economy and also promoting the culture of reading. She said the book festival is also an opportunity for local authors and creatives to get international exposure.

“It also creates platforms that other people may not have access or exposure to and that’s how we came to be. The book festival also promotes culture inclusivity,” she added.

She said the festival now has platforms such as book night, winter series and an enhanced school programme. Phele said they have an exciting lineup with a variety of themes thought-provoking themes up for discussion during the festival. She said there will have book launches and Masterclasses. The masterclasses will be facilitated by Bonty Botumile, Zukiswa Wanner, and Professor Jean McNeil from the University of East Anglia in the UK. She said they have struck a partnership with the University of East Anglia, which supports some African literary spaces.

“So, the book festival was chosen to enhance the capacity of authors and those who are coming up.”

She stated that GBF was chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the University of East Anglia celebrations of the 50 years of Bachelor of Arts, which is where it first started. She said as such, they have been running a series of closed workshops in Botswana, which are focused on promoting Literature writing for children in Botswana with the final workshop scheduled for September 16.

Patrons will also get a chance to interact with local authors and be treated to endless poetry recitations throughout the event. Some of the dignitaries at the event include Assistant Minister of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture Buti Billy, 400m sprinter Isaac Makwala, Sylvester Chauke, and Thuto Angie Chuma amongst others.

Editor's Comment
Happy Independence!

We are 56 years old and what do we have to show for it? Looking at where Botswana started and where it is today, there are a lot of developments, but whether the developments match the number of years we have enjoyed as a country is a topic for another day.The fact that cannot be denied is we have seen major developments, but we are still lacking in several pertinent areas.Our beautiful country imports almost everything. We import fuel, food,...

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