The Botswana Society

Writers on Botswana


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Botswana was brought to world attention in the nineteenth century by non-fiction writers such as the travellers Henry Lichtenstein and Roualeyn Gordon Cumming, and the missionaries David Livingstone and John Mackenzie. Publication in Setswana took off later in the century in the columns of the newspaper Mahoko a Becwana, and continued in the novels and plays of Sol Plaatje, L.D. Raditladi, and M.O.M. Seboni.

Among colonial officers, Charles Rey wrote the most rambunctious and irreverent memoirs in the 1930s, while the reminiscences of the traveller-journalist Laurens van der Post in the 1950s are known to be somewhat fictionalized. The anthropologist Isaac Schapera is widely recognised as the greatest scholar on the people of Botswana, while the physician S.M. Molema, the archaeologist and museologist Alec Campbell, and the historians Michael Crowder and Thomas Tlou must be counted as other premier scholars. Sandy Grant continues as the major newspaper columnist.

Among fiction writers, the works of South African-born teacher Bessie Head are widely celebrated. Barolong Seboni carries the banner of poetry today. Colonial-born Carolyn Slaughter and British-born Caitlin Davies have contributed cogent novels and studies based on their experiences in Ngamiland and elsewhere. Former U.S. Peace Corps director Norman Rush and former law lecturer Alexander McCall Smith have authored witty studies of social circles in Gaborone. Unity Dow, with her insights into the modern transformations of "traditional" Mochudi life, remains the most outstanding living novelist born in Botswana.

Alec Campbell
Michael Crowder 
Caitlin Davies
Unity Dow
Sandy Grant
Bessie Head
David Livingstone (Project Gutenberg text; 
UB History)
plus LIVs AT KOLOBENG extract TO BE PLACED UNDER "BOOKS" ON BOTSOC SITE
S.M. Molema
Solomon T. Plaatje (Project Gutenberg text; 
UB History)URL to NATIVE LIFE on Gutenberg
L.D. Raditladi
Charles F. Rey URL to extract from REY DIARIES TO BE PLACED UNDER "BOOKS" ON BOTSOC SITE
Norman Rush
Isaac Schapera
Barolong Seboni
M.O.M. Seboni
Alexander McCall Smith URL to his Web-Site
Carolyn Slaughter
Thomas Tlou
Laurens van der Post

Copyright © 2008 Botswana Society
Last updated 2 April 2008 [PAGE ENDS]