Nametso Phonchi who hails from Lobatse has published her first book entitled ‘Stories from the Sun’ through UK based publisher Bahati Books. The young prolific writer who is also known as ‘Poetess Phopho’ says words are more than a language as they are a means of finding yourself as you journey through life. Amongst other things, she is also celebrated as the ‘black Chinese poet’ because of the way she recites poems in Mandarin.
Choosing an equally poetic title for her first anthology, Phonchi says the poems where mostly ‘collected from the sun’: “This anthology is a series of stories or rather experiences collected at the break of dawn. It is stories collected as an unending pilgrimage, stories of love and transformation, identity, societal relationships and ills that the poet desires to correct or change.”
Drawing inspiration from various experiences, she says that her daily encounters stimulate her writing process: “This anthology is a collection of poems written at different times. Some poems are as old as a year ago, but most where written in the last year. I am inspired a lot more from day to day experiences such as conversations with friends, a loved one or experiences of people that surround me.I write a lot when I travel to new places, be it a ghetto or a suburb or a village. My desire to become a great woman with an ever growing passion for God has made me look at life different way,” explains the Lobatse native.
She says her writing has matured over time, and singles out poems such as Ntimbale, The Chobe Skies and Maun as favourites: “These are poems that remind me daily that ones meets their true selves in new spaces, nature moved my life in these places, in these times. These are poems that mark beautiful transformations of my life that I only discovered in different tours around Botswana.”
“The challenge was having many journals full of poems yet having to pick ones that resemble a voice from Africa, which is predominantly what my publishing team aims to give platform to,” says Phopho on compiling the book. She adds that her publisher is based in the United Kingdom, which was sometimes a draw back because it would take time for them to respond to one another.“This was also a great advantage I’d say, because the book then came out at a perfect time when we have known and interacted for sometime and had thoroughly discussed the contents of the book,” notes the poet.
An excerpt from the anthology is as follows: “In one winter night, I shivered painfully and wished for warmth. I wish my Mother had warm blankets to offer me then. In one rainy day without an umbrella, I wished for a rainbow to carry me towards the end of the world, where sun rays seemingly gathered for me. I love shooting stars; they allow me to whisper things I cannot say loudly to anyone. Without shooting stars, I stare at the moon and wait for the morning sun. I adore the morning sun, and the hope she carries.”
Phonchi is also scheduled to perform at the Gaborone International Music and Culture week for the poetry segment along side renowned South African poet Lebo Mashile. The show is billed for the 31st August 2016 at Botswana Craft.
‘Stories From The Sun’ is currently available for purchase on Amazon and will soon be available in hard copy.