Botswana. As I mentioned previously, I don’t really know too much about Botswana. My knowledge now, a few weeks focusing on the country, has grown. Little by little.
In order to bridge my knowledge gap, I contacted an author living in Botswana, Lauri Kubuitsile. She blogs at Thoughts from Botswana. Ms. Kubuitsile has lived there since the late 80s. She’s written books for children and adults. Her latest children’s book, Thato Lekoko: Superhero, is about a typical teenager with typical teenage issues who is also a superhero solving problems small and large.Learn more about Botswana from author Lauri Kubuitsile. Click To Tweet
Let’s see what Ms. Kubuitsiekle says about Botswana.
An interview with Lauri Kubuitsile
KTB: Did you travel a lot growing up, if not, what made you want to travel?
LK: No I didn’t, I come from a working class family where money was tight, so traveling was not part of my life.
KTB: What books from your childhood inspired you to travel?
LK: I can’t say that books inspired me to travel, books inspired me to live other lives. They let me see the million possibilities, the million ways to live an interesting, engaged life. From there, I went looking for one.
KTB: What first brought you to Botswana?
LK: I was a volunteer science teacher.
KTB: How did you get started writing children’s books?
LK: To be honest, I write stories, I just write stories. I do occasionally think a bit about the audience, but mostly I write stories and they tend to find the audience that will engage with them. In the end, I think I mostly write for me really.
The book industry in Botswana
KTB: From my experience, there aren’t as many books about specific countries in Africa for kids. There are a lot more books that are labeled “African” or “East African”. So, with that in mind, other than your own, which books would you recommend to parents who want to teach their kids more about Botswana? Are there any you would recommend for families traveling to Botswana and wanting to prepare for the trip?
LK: Since your experience is off the continent, I would expect you to say that, but it is wrong. Nearly every country has a local publishing industry and there are all sorts of lovely books written by all sorts of talented African writers set in their home country. Unfortunately, books that are published overseas often mash fifty or so countries into one odd “country” called Africa, leaving out the gorgeous uniqueness of each individual country. A cursory google search will answer your question. I’m not keen to mention any author because I will surely leave others out.
Impressions of Botswana
KTB: What do you want children who have never been to know about Botswana?
LK: Botswana is a successful country with a tradition of democracy far back in its history through the Setswana kgotla system. When it received independence in 1966, it was one of the poorest countries in the world, with few schools, hospitals, or even tarred roads. Now it is a modern country with even the tiniest village having a clinic and a primary school, at least. An astounding achievement. It’s a beautiful, peaceful friendly country.
KTB: Where do you take first-time visitors to Botswana?
LK: First time visitors must get to Maun and the Okavango Delta, take a boat ride in a traditional canoe called a mokoro where they’ll see elephants playing in the water and crocodiles enjoying our abundant sunshine. The Delta, the largest inland delta, is now a World Heritage Site.
About Lauri Kubuitsile
Lauri Kubuitsile is a full-time writer living in Mahalapye, Botswana. She has many published books and many short stories published around the world. She has won or been shortlisted for numerous prizes, among them she was shortlisted for the 2011 Caine Prize, and twice won The Golden Baobab Prize, the only Pan-African prize for children’s writing.
Her most recent books include collection of short stories, In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata and Other Stories (Hands-On Books/HopeRoad London) and the sequel to her YA book, Signed, Hopelessly in Love (Tafelberg) titled Signed, The Secret Keeper published by Diamond Educational Publishers in Botswana. In December (2015) her children’s book, Thato Lekoko: Superhero, came out with Oxford University Press South African and her historical novel ,The Scattering, about the genocide of the Herero people in Namibia by the German colonisers, will come out in May 2016 published by Penguin/ Random House South Africa.
She blogs at Thoughts from Botswana.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us!