The Letlhafula Day is back again, and this year the Botswanacraft-organised festival, which celebrates the harvest season with song, dance and Setswana delicacies, will also feature children’s activities, coordinated by Maun-based children’s literature author, Bontekanye Botumile.
Botumile has written three children’s storybooks, The Seed Children, Pattern in the Sky, and Tlou ÔÇô The Elephant Story that she has self-published through Thari-E-Ntsho Storytellers.
Her storybooks, which are adapted from folktales and Tswana mythology, are collated in the Maun area where she grew up, and are acclaimed to appeal to both the young and old.
Botumile started as a young girl participating in poetry and story writing competitions. Her first writing accolade was 3rd place in a national writing competition while at Form 2. She started writing short stories for Kutlwano magazine and published her first book, Tlou, in 2007, winning the Bessie Head Literature award in 2007 in the short story writing category.
Botumile will cater to 6 to 12-year olds at the Letlhafula Day with a session of story telling and learning to play indigenous games, such as morabaraba.
Asked on what she has planned for the children’s program, Botumile said, “A hands-on program with a cultural touch.”
She continued: “Children have in the past been left out in the day’s proceedings.” she said. “But this year, they will be in the mix of things playing indigenous games, like dibeke, mhele, morabaraba and doll making.
“We will start with story telling in the morning and then proceed to playing clapping games, African drumming and also perform a puppet show.”
She added that though she writes children’s literature, she does not have a child of her own. “I consider the unemployed youth that I work with on theatrical pieces as my children.”
Botumile says it is a joy to see these young people excel as performing artists as they are wont to do.
Another item that Botumile promised for the children’s program is a session on writing your own book. As a self publishing author, she says that she hopes to impart on the young children an idea on how to go about publishing and writing a story.
Tickets for children aged 6 ÔÇô 12 years old cost P75 and P150 for adults.
Other festival entertainers include Botswana jazz artist, Mogwana, traditional dance troupe and folk guitarist Stampore.