Bame Thokwane, now known as Bame The Writer, is a 24-year-old woman who authored a book titled The Poetic Beauty: Within my Sorrow. The book is a collection of poems of her encounter with depression and anxiety and it was launched in the United Kingdom via Amazon in 2018, making it available globally.
She started writing in junior school and this latest offering features many poems, the first of which was written in 2011.
Thokwane told Arts & Culture that she was inspired to write the book by the therapy she experiences daily with poetry.
“This book was not written in one period. The first poem dates November 2011 and the last one was written in March 2018. They all document my experience with depression and anxiety at different stages in my life, and because they were written about real situations in real time, they present a more honest picture,” she said.
“Each one was written when I was going through a lot and I could not express it to anyone. Writing them was therapeutic.” The book has 50 pages and 18 poems and they include I am Sorry, Once Upon a Time and 4am. I am Sorry is about being who you are and having someone you trusted with your secrets using them against you. Being open about your struggles with mental issues and having someone close to you using that as a weapon against you. Once Upon a Time is about getting used to someone you share your pain with, and they leave because the relationship is toxic.
It is about learning to be alone and working at finding inner peace after realising it cannot come from someone else. On the other hand, 4am is about finding self relief in someone else, the main message is that depression does not mean you cannot smile or be happy because it is in those moments when you find happiness in others that make you believe tomorrow can be better.
Thokwane also said people with depression often feel like no one understand what they go through, a feeling she used to feel at some point. She hoped her book could be used as a tool to drive the conversation on mental health both personal and institutional levels.
“This book required a lot of honesty and self-reflection. Perhaps, that was the hardest part about writing the book,” Thokwane explained.
“It was more after it was published in London, when I read it again I realised just how much of myself I am offering to the world and it was daunting. Knowing what questions I would face was a lot to take in, but this book is bigger than me and I realised that talking about the book and answering questions has helped me too.” In 2014 she founded a non-governmental organisation by the name Let It Out, which is geared towards fighting issues of abuse and educating victims on dealing with their mental health following abuse. She has been running since 2018 a Facebook page with more than 1,000 followers. The page: Poetry to Fight Mental Illness, Let It Out and her continued articles on The Patriot On Sunday are some of the few ways she has been trying to raise awareness.
The book was officially launched in Botswana tomorrow at Molapo Crossing, Culture Art Café last weekend.
To get a ticket, one has to buy a copy of the book at P100.