Sunday, April 25, 2010

Long Time Coming discussed by Botswana's award-winning writer Lauri Kubuitsile

The following is an extract from 'Thoughts from Botswana',

The second book is a short story collection, Long Time Coming Short Writings from Zimbabwe published by 'amaBooks. The title is a bit wrong since two Batswana writing friends have stories inside both set in Botswana - Wame Molefhe and Gothataone Moeng. The book is deceptive. I’m not sure if it is the layout or the size, but there are 38 substantial stories and poems inside a very thin looking book. Zimbabweans are masters of economy.

Mma Molefhe’s story
Six Pack is named after the practice of Batswana police collecting illegal Zimbabweans in the country in groups of six they call six-packs. The story is a painful account of a Zimbabwean woman who must work as a prostitute in Botswana to raise money for medicine for her husband back home.

Gothataone Moeng’s story also looks at the plight of Zimbabweans in Botswana. It is called
Who Knows What Season Tomorrow Brings. It is about the xenophobia Zimbabweans must deal with in Botswana. The title alludes to the fact that who knows what the future holds; perhaps tomorrow Batswana will be in the position of Zimbabweans so maybe its time for some empathy.

The Cracked Pink Lips of Rosie’s Bridegroom by Petina Gappah is an excellent tale about HIV/AIDS and the community’s response to those infected with the virus. The First Lady’s Yellow Shoes by Peter Ncube is a lovely take on the day THEY leave. I liked the writing in Brian Chikwava’s story Fiction, though the ending disappointed me. I also liked Miss Parker and the Tugboat by Byrony Rheam.

The stories are always framed in the dire circumstances of political collapse, HIV/AIDS, poverty hunger, and desperation, that is modern Zimbabwe. An eclectic collection that, despite the setting, is not always heavy and depressing which I thought was very nice.

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