Lauri Kubuitsile and Wame Molefhe flew down (or it is up?) together from Botswana to Lagos to participate in the Farafina Workshop. My interviews with the duo - published today. Excerpts below.
Lauri Kubuitsile: ready for the big time
Lauri Kubuitsile's short story, ‘In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata' was shortlisted for the 2011 Caine Prize, bringing to new height a writing career forged doggedly for the last seven years from Mahalapye, a town north of Gaborone, Botwana's capital.
The story is set in Nokanyana, a village "named after a small river that no one had yet been able to discover," where a legendary lothario, McPhineas Lata has just died, leaving married couples in a tizzy, as hapless husbands plot to win back the attention of unfaithful wives. Kubuitsile had written the piece for ‘The Bed Book of Short Stories', an anthology published in 2010 by Modjaji Books... The writer was not sure of the story's chances when it was entered for the Caine. "I told [the publisher], this story has no chance. It's a bit of an oddball," she recalls. "Humour can sometimes be undermined - they think literary fiction has to be serious."
Wame Molefhe: writing to the sun
Molefhe's new book is titled ‘Go Tell The Sun' because, "The sun is always present in Botswana." But there is a deeper resonance. "The society in which I live has set standards that come from culture and tradition," such that many issues cannot be discussed openly. "If you have issues and you can't tell anyone, tell it to the sun." The stories in the collection deal with one single female character, Sethunya. One of the stories, ‘Sethunya Is Our Bride' was published in the Africa Portfolio of the US journal, Agni, late last year.
"Sethunya means ‘Flower' in Setswana," her creator explains. "What I've always wanted to do is take this Flower and plant it in different soils and see if it flowers or dies. That's what I've done in this collection." In one situation, Sethunya is married; will it work? In another, she is placed with another woman; can she love a woman?
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