Basadi, lwa reng?
Thatayaone Gilbert Motsaathebe (seTswana novel)
Item no and price: available from Unisa Press Business Section;
Subject fields: African Literaure , seTswana, Gender studies
More about the book
Basadi, lwa reng is a powerful and ground-breaking novel that touches on a number of challenges facing many people today. These range from HIV-AIDS, teenage pregnancy, drug trafficking, women abuse as well as bribery of civil servants.
The title, Basadi lwa reng, challenges women to stand up for their rights. The author encourages them to be pro-active, resilient and sturdy. They need to form partnerships, associations and alliances to stop women abuse. Kedibone, the protagonist in the story, emerges as a champion of women rights after her unsuccessful relationships with men.
She conceived the idea of Basadi lwa reng, loosely translated What do women say?, after her fall-out with Basinyi, a womaniser, drug dealer and a trickster. Kedibone then takes the responsibility on to educate abused women in open discussions.
The author speaks out on crime detection, making this book a rare voice on this topic in Setswana literature. He elucidates criminal activities exceptionally well. Basinyi, a name meaning mischievous person; lives up to his name as a Setswana proverb, saying Ina lebe seromo (meaning a bad name is an evil omen). Basinyi is a master tactician with organizing criminal activities. He has contacts and connections in the right places. He has good lawyers to deal with his cases if he lands in danger.
The Department of Safety and Security is portrayed as weak in its handling of crime; officers are corrupt and receive bribes from criminals. The police stations are ill-equipped as there are insufficient staff and inadequate vehicles to carry out their responsibilities.
Irrespective of this, there are dedicated police officers such as Captain Kebareng. He brings hope and optimism into a department beset with insurmountable problems. His dedication to his calling and responsiveness to his duty is well illuminated in the story.
The characters in this novel are outlined boldly, and we get to know especially Modiri, Kedibone, Basinyi and Kedirile as if they are neighbours. The author captures the streets of Gaborone with vivid and specific descriptions, focusing on places like Kgale, Mokgodisane and Mochudi.
The novel offers a captivating read, and is a showcase of African story telling at its best; dramatic, proverbial, metaphorical and lyrical. This is the kind of material that will rekindle reading interest, put Setswana writing on par with the very best nationally and internationally, and even inspire others to explore similar territories in African languages writing.
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